High Court Judge files complaint against anti-corruption chief Chizuma

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Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma is set to appear in court over her leaked audio following a fresh complaint from High Court judge Simeon Mdeza.

According to documents we have seen, Chizuma will be in court this afternoon for plea taking on charge of making use of speech calculated to lower authority of a person before whom a judicial proceeding is being had, contrary to section 113(d) of the Penal Code. 

Chizuma in January last year had a phone conversation with a person identified as Anderson Mwakyelu. The two discussed a case which the ACB was handling and an audio of the conversation was leaked online.

According to the state, Chizuma in the audio stated that Justice Mdeza was bribed when he presided over  a case involving Ashok Kumar Sreedharan, an alleged accomplice of businessperson Zuneth Sattar.

Pat of the charge sheet

The second count Chizuma is facing is making use of speech capable of prejudicing a person against a party to judicial proceedings, which is also under section 113 of the Penal Code. 

“[Chizuma]  made use of speech contained in an audio clip which was capable of prejudicing Dr Steven Kayuni by stating that the said Steven Kayuni is corrupt and compromised,” reads part of the charge sheet signed by prosecutor Levison Mangani.

On December 6, Chizuma was arrested by armed police at her home in Lilongwe following a complaint from Kayuni who was Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) at the time.

Public backlash over the arrest forced President Lazarus Chakwera to institute a commission of inquiry which faulted Kayuni, saying he demonstrated lack of judgment.

The inquiry also found reasonable grounds to suspect that Chizuma committed offences and demonstrated lack of judgement in her leaked audio.

Chakwera last week fired Kayuni for using his position as DPP to settle a personal score  but maintained his decision to stand by Chizuma, describing her as as a champion against corruption.

However, the continued prosecution of Chizuma shows that the President Lazarus Chakwera administration is using everything to stop Chizuma from prosecuting people suspected of corruption amid unconfirmed reports that the ACB is investigating some cabinet ministers over corruption.

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