At 3:30pm Monday, the country welcomed a new Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the name of Masauko Chamkakala.
This was after the Public Appointments Committee (Pac) of Parliament gave a nod to his presidential appointment.
He replaces Steven Kayuni, who served on the position for over a year following his involvement in the arrest of Anti- Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma over a leaked conversation on people allegedly being involved in corrupt dealings within the public sector.
Who is Chamkakala?
Chamkakala has been heading the Legal Aid Bureau since its inception in 2015, when he was first appointed to the position of director of the institution until his recent appointment as DPP.
He set up the bureau as a national institution, and one of the tasks included setting up administrative structures of the institution across Malawi.
As its director, he was providing administrative and strategic direction to the bureau.
He led the bureau in handling over 10,000 cases for indigenous clients in the first year.
His tasks included the provision of financial and administrative oversight in setting up offices, resource mobilisation and management of bureau affairs.
Before moving to the bureau in 2013, Chamkakala managed the Legal Advisory Services Department for the Government Contracting Unit.
This means he was the director of legal services on contract basis.
He also worked with the World Bank as an investigator. He, among other things, conducted investigations into bank-funded projects, ensuring that there was no fraud, corruption and other misconduct under loan agreements.
Throughout his career, the new DPP also worked as legal counsel for the Malawi Parliament and also as principal legal officer at the Malawi Revenue Authority.
He also served law firms.
Chamkakala holds a Master’s Degree in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law with a distinction from Ohio Northern University College of Law in United States of America and Master’s Degree in Women’s Law obtained from the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, Zimbabwe
Seal of approval
Pac Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo said the majority of the members gave the nod to his professional competencies and his ability to enhance the relationship between his office and the ACB in the fight against corruption.
“According to his responses, we felt that, maybe, his coming would change things and that people will start appreciating services offered by his office.
“He is one of our officers and we know what he has done at the Legal Aid Bureau. We decided to give him a chance,” she said.
Speaking after meeting committee members for almost an hour, Chamkakala, who seemed calm and unmoved, pledged a new way of doing business, in particular between his office and the ACB.
“Consider that problem history,” he said.
Call for accountability
Malawi Law Society President Patrick Mpaka said the society expects professionalism, credibility and integrity throughout Chamkakala’s duration of service.
“The scope of responsibility is clearly cut out in Section 99 of the Constitution. We expect sustained professionalism, credibility and integrity in the delivery of legal services by his office, coupled with workable relations with other prosecution authorities under him for effective and result-oriented [action] in combating serious crime in the country,” he said.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition Vice Chairperson Michael Kaiyatsa welcomed the development.
“We expect that he will collaborate with the ACB and agencies responsible for the fight against corruption to complete prosecution of major corruption cases in order to restore public trust in the fight against corruption,” he said.
Chakwera fired Kayuni after he lodged a complaint to the police over the leaked audio, a development that culminated in Chizuma’s arrest
A Presidential Commission of inquiry into the arrest of Chizuma faulted Kayuni in the way he and Chizuma conducted themselves while discharging their duties.