Judge restores warrant of arrest for bribery suspect Mpinganjira

… Magistrate Chitsakamile and Mpinganjira’s lawyer to be disciplined

Justice Nyakaunda Kamanga of the High Court has restored the warrant of arrest for FDH Bank boss Thom Mpinganjira saying the warrant was quashed in a kangaroo court by a magistrate who was surprisingly awake and ready to work at midnight.

Kamanga delivered the ruling on Tuesday after hearing from Lawyers of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and those representing Mpinganjira.

ACB boss Reyneck Matemba argued during hearing that the Zomba Magistrate, Ben Chitsakamile, erred in law and had no jurisdiction to cancel the warrant of arrest which the ACB obtained in Lilongwe before arresting Mpinganjira last week.

But Mpinganjira’s lawyer Lusungu Gondwe said the bribery suspect’s detention at Blantyre Police Station was illegal and the ACB should have taken him to court on the same day of his arrest.

In her ruling, Kamanga said Chitsakamile did not have powers to cancel another Magistrate’s warrant of arrest.

Kamanga condemned Chitsakamile for not scrutinizing the documents before him and for failing to keep records of what transpired during the process.

She also noted the Mpinganjira’s lawyer did not appear before the Magistrate and he acted on his own motion.

Kamanga faulted Chitsakamile for working on a file that was not assigned to him and wondered how the case file ended up in the magistrate’s hands.

She then described the process of cancelling the warrant of arrest saying it was done in a Kangaroo court by a magistrate who was surprisingly awake at around midnight.

After ordering that the warrant be restored, Kamanga ruled that Chitsakamile should be disciplined by the Judicial Service Committee.

She added that Gondwe should appear before a disciplinary hearing within seven days and that he should no longer represent Mpinaganjira on the matter over how he conducted himself.

The ACB arrested FDH Bank boss Mpinganjira on Wednesday in connection to allegations of attempts to bribe five Constitutional Court judges presiding over the Presidential Elections Case.

He was released at midnight after Zomba Magistrate Ben Chitsakamile issued an order cancelling the arrest warrant which the ACB.

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