After pressure and threats of sanctions by donors against Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera and other government officials, Malawi has dropped its case against Martha Chizuma, the Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
This comes as on Saturday evening, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Masauko Chamkakala, announced discontinuance of criminal case against Chizuma, a case which recently invited a backlash from the public and Malawi’s donors who accuses Chakwera of abandoning his commitment to fight corruption.
Chamkakala said he was appointed by the President to advance the Administration’s agenda for Justice in accordance with the rule of law, and that Chakwera has always made it clear that part of that agenda is removing all impediments that stand in the path of institutions like the ACB.
“So, after reviewing the case and after consulting the Attorney General I decided to discontinue the criminal case against Ms Chizuma in line with the prescriptions of the Constitution and other relevant laws. This is to ensure that the functionality of the ACB is not impeded.
“I have formally communicated my decision to Ms Collen Zamba, the Secretary to the President and Cabinet so that her office can take appropriate steps in line with the Malawi Public Service Regulations regarding Ms Chizuma’s employment status,” said Chamkakala.
Hours after the announcement, Chakwera through his press secretary Anthony Kasunda, denied speculations that Chamkakala’s decision to discontinue the case. was per a directive from the Malawi president.
While welcoming Chamkakala’s decision, Chakwera through Kasunda said the powers of the DPP to discontinue a criminal case as he deems fit as stipulated in Section 99 of the Constitution are not subject to presidential approval or direction.
“The general public is hereby informed that reports from some media outlets that His Excellency President Chakwera ordered the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to drop and discontinue the criminal cases against Ms. Chizuma are false,” he said.
He added that Chamkakala informed Chakwera about the decision to review the charges soon after the DPP was confirmed by Parliament.
“[Chakwera] now welcomes the latest news of the DPP’s decision to use his powers to discontinue those cases against Ms. Chizuma, who is the President’s champion in the fight against corruption, at no point has His Excellency infringed on the Constitution by ordering the DPP to discontinue the cases when he has no legal authority to do so,” reads part of Kasunda’s statement.
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