State defies DPP on Gift Trapence, Macdonald Sembereka


The State has defied Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s order to withdraw a case in which the State is accusing human rights activists Gift Trapence and Reverend Macdonald Sembereka of mismanaging K7.4 million of donor money.

A letter signed by DPP Mary Kachale on August 12 2019 addressed to Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Barbara Mchenga-Tsiga, instructed the State to withdraw the case after UNAids, which was the principal complainant, told the government to discontinue the case.

“Whilst one regrets the lost opportunity to ensure enhanced fiscal accountability for such scare resources, considering that the main complainant whom is also the only identifiable victim of any proposed wrongdoing is no longer interesting in prosecution of the two suspects, it is quite inevitable in the present circumstances to cease all such proceedings in court.


“This correspondence, therefore, serves as an instruction to the relevant public prosecutors to formally withdraw this case from further prosecution under section 81 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code,” the letter reads.

The two, however, appeared in court in Lilongwe yesterday although the State did not show up citing demonstrations which took place in Lilongwe as reason for the no-show.

Trapence and Sembereka were arrested on November 13 and were later released on bail.


Sembereka faces three counts, including forgery of official documents, uttering false documents, money laundering and operating an unregistered non-governmental organisation.

Trapence, on the other hand, faces four counts, including forgery of official documents.

One of the activists’ lawyers Khwima Mchizi said he was surprised that the State did not withdraw the case.

National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said he did.

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