Titus Mvalo summons Martha Chizuma, DPP, Attorney General
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Titus Mvalo has summoned Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steve Kayuni and Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda for a meeting on their working relationship following a directive by President Lazarus Chakwera on Monday.
Mvalo said Wednesday that he met with them a fortnight ago and that he would also be meeting them next week, saying he had not yet reported back to the President on the outcome of the first meeting.
On his return from Mozambique, Chakwera disclosed at a press briefing that he had asked the Justice Ministry to initiate discussions for the top brass at ACB, DPP and AG offices.
“I am also worried. I said to them that they need each other in their work for them to be effective in the fight against corruption and they understood that point very well. They need to work as a team and as a unit for them to be effective. In my presence, they committed that they would do everything they could to repair their working relationship,” Mvalo said.
During the second meeting, Mvalo said he would like to hear from them if there were improvements in their working relationship.
He hinted at the possibility of making the meetings periodic.
Asked what would be the bone of contention that led to the fallout of the three, Mvalo said the genesis of the differences was a misunderstanding that arose regarding cooperation with external agencies on investigations.
“The ACB thought they could do it on their own. The DPP, the AG— supported by the law— have been contending that the ACB has to go through the DPP’s office as a central legal authority in dealing with external law enforcement agencies and they have been pulling each other,” Mvalo said.
On January 20 2022, Kayuni refused to grant the ACB consent to prosecute Kumar Sreedharan, also known as Ashok Nair, and four others on grounds of lack of supporting documents.
In a letter to the ACB, Kayuni said that, after perusing through the documents submitted to his office, he discovered that some supporting items were missing.
The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), in a statement signed by its chairperson Scader Louis last week, indicated that it was facilitating mediation talks on the matter.
It indicated that its officials had, by then, met with Nyirenda and Chizuma.
MHRC Executive Director Habiba Osman confirmed the development but said it was too early to share information on the matter.
“It’s going to be difficult for me because I have not been part and parcel of discussions because it is the civil and political rights directorate [handling that]. I am not in the right position to share [information on that],” she said.
Nyirenda confirmed meeting with MHRC officials but Chizuma was not forthcoming on the matter.
But Kayuni, in a letter to the commission, indicated that dates that had been proposed by the latter were not convenient for him.
Last week, Kayuni asked the Malawi Police Service to comply with a court order from Mzuzu, which asked them to launch criminal investigations into a leaked conversation between a person alleged to be Chizuma and another person.