Court suspends Malawi Lands Minister’s arrest

…Says ACB wanted to embarrass Minister

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…Court order granted in Zomba but claimant and defendant based in Lilongwe

Minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa has obtained a stay from the High Court in Zomba against his own arrest, with the Court faulting the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for arresting Msukwa in a manner that caused him embarrassment.

Judge Zione Ntaba has granted the injunction today without hearing from the ACB.

The bureau on 29 December obtained an arrest warrant for Msukwa over corruption related offences. Msukwa informed that bureau that he would hand himself in on 31 December but he never.

Instead, he went to hospital as he was reportedly not feeling well. ACB officials followed Msukwa to the hospital where they arrested him.

Yesterday, Msukwa filed an ex-parte application for leave saying the warrant is an abuse of prosecutorial discretion and tainted in bad faith.

Ntaba in her ruling said the ACB’s conduct was unreasonable and meant to cause embarrassment to Msukwa.

“The defendant in executing the warrant on 31 December decided to do so whilst he was on a hospital bed and in the process violating his right to privacy, jeopardized his health. These are issues which courts should frown upon,” said Ntaba.

Ntaba the ordered that Msukwa’s arrest and further detention is stayed until determination of the leave application and inter partes application for stay.

She also advised the ACB to follow the constitution when executing a warrant of arrest against Msukwa including informing him of the reasons and the date and time he will appear before court.

The judge has since transferred the rest of the case to Lilongwe saying that even though the case could have been handled in Zomba, it is best suited to be handled in Lilongwe because Msukwa and the ACB are based in Lilongwe.

Msukwa is accused of receiving K23 million and a Mercedes Benz in bribes from a businessperson in order to facilitate land deals.

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