Malawi Law Society (MLS) has called upon all relevant institutions and state agents and organs to support the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in its pursuit of any legal process that the bureau may deem appropriate in dealing with the corruption allegations against Vice President Saulos Chilima.
The MLS wants the allegations to be dealt with quickly and lawfully in order to end the impasse caused by the allegations.
The law society has released a statement today signed by chairperson Patrick Gray Mpaka and honorary chairperson Chrispin Chimweme Ngunde.
Chilima is accused of receving money from businessperson Zuneth Sattar and last week President Lazarus Chakwera said he has withheld delegated duties from Chilima.
According to MLS, under section 79 of the Constitution, the functions of a Vice President are to “assist the President and exercise the powers and functions conferred by the Constitution or by any Act of Parliament and by the President”.
MLS noted that the announcement by the President entails that possibly the President may not be seeking further assistance or conferring any further functions to the Vice President until the corruption allegations on the part of the Vice President are resolved.
“It means that the Vice President will strictly remain with those functions given by the Constitution or some other statute. For example under section 92 of the Constitution cabinet is composed of the President, the Vice President, Ministers and Deputies so that the Vice President will remain a member of the cabinet because of the Constitution.
“Any function ascribed by the Constitution or an Act of Parliament to the office of the Vice President is not affected by the President’s decision to stop delegating. Only those functions directly assigned by the President or which the President intended to assign to the Vice President would be affected by the decision,” the MLS said.
It also noted that the vice president is not immune to prosecution.
The society described the current situation as complex as it can easily create or be exploited to create a political impasse.
“Malawi Law Society therefore recommends quick and lawful resolution of the issues that have given rise to the situation so that the country can move forward as one unit knowing the state of potential guilt or innocence of the country’s Vice President and avert the impasse that can be created by a sustained state of uncertainty.
“We therefore call upon all institutions and State agents and organs if and whenever it falls within their competence to play any role in dealing with the corruption allegations against the Vice President, to support the Anti-Corruption Bureau in its pursuit of any legal process that the Bureau may deem appropriate,” reads part of the statement
MLS has also called upon members of the Chilima’s political party or the general public to avoid taking actions and steps that may be perceived to seek to obstruct or impede the course of justice in the matter concerning the allegations of corruption by the Vice President since the state, in this case led by the Anti- Corruption Bureau, has a duty to take measures aimed at eradicating social injustices such as corruption.
“Let the due legal process triggered by the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s reported findings against the Vice President and indeed against any public official run its course efficiently and without interference,” MLS has said.
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