Judicial Service Commission is expected to determine whether Justice Lloyd Muhara, who has been accused of breaking the law, should continue serving as Judge of the High Court.
The recommendation for assessment of Muhara’s incompetency is contained in the report which Ombudsman Martha Chizuma released yesterday. The report, Upholding the Profession, focuses on abuse and maladministration in the flawed procurement of South African lawyers by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
The procurement of the South African lawyers, who charged K600 million, received a ‘no objection’ for single sourcing from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).
Chizuma in her report noted issues of maladministration and abuse of office in the granting of the no objection. She also noted that PPDA chairperson at the time Madalitso M’meta pushed for the granting of the no objection while procedures were being flouted.
Muhara has been faulted in the report for the illegal appointment of M’meta as board member and Chairperson of the PPDA in 2018.
According to Chizuma, the Secretary to the Treasury (ST) is responsible for facilitating the appointment of members of the PPDA and receives nominations from organisations.
In the case of M’meta, a lawyer on the board, nomination was expected to come from the Malawi Law Society but this was not done. Instead, Muhara while serving as Chief Secretary, illegally appointed M’meta.
Muhara suspended the appointment of members who were invited for confirmation hearings by Parliament and then later informed the Clerk of Parliament that it had pleased the then President Peter Mutharika to appoint Mr. Madalitso M’meta, Mrs. Constance Musopole, Engineer Mr. Martin Mathias Chizalema, Mr. Amos Nyambo and Mr. Gospel Mavutula as members of the Authority
Chizuma said Muhara broke the law and Judiciary should reconsider his role as a Judge of the High Court.
“From my analysis above he perpetrated this illegality deliberately and intentionally or out of sheer incompetence, both of which make his suitability as Judge of the High Court questionable. I therefore direct that the Judicial Service Commission in accordance with its powers under section 118 of the Constitution as read together with section 119 of the Constitution deliberate and determine on the suitability and competency of Justice Lloyd Muhara to hold the position of a judge of the High Court,” she said.
She also directed that the outcome of the process should be communicated to her office and all Malawians by 28th May, 2021.