Joyce Banda ‘trial in the media’: Malawi Law Society faults govt

The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has said former president Joyce Banda is being tried in the media and in the court of public opinion, on the infamous looting of public resources—a scandal christened as Cashgate – despite no formal charges.

Joyce Banda: Being tired in the media, says Malawi Law Society

Joyce Banda: Being tired in the media, says Malawi Law Society

The Law Society through its president John Suzi-Banda faulted government for ‘prosecution through the media’ saying the State has a legal authority to investigate and prosecute.

Government has been asked to let allow a due process of the law take place other than political insipiration.

Suzi-Banda comments in The Nation was in reaction to a statement by government titled ‘Government Response on ‘JB blasts APM, DPP’ dated December 31 2015 signed by Information Minister Jappie Mhango.

Government was responding to Banda’s statement in which she accused the Peter Mutharika’s administration of deliberately ignoring calls from donors to institute thorough and speedy investigations into the alleged K577 billion scam.

MLS’s president told the newspaper that the state was diluting the seriousness of the matter by taking it to the media.

“As MLS, we cannot prescribe how the former president [Joyce Banda] should respond to the allegations made against her. Whether what she is doing by responding through the same channel is right or wrong remains at the discretion of her lawyers,” the paper quoted MLS president as saying.

“ But what we see as a problem is that the State has a legal authority to investigate and prosecute. Unfortunately, the government has so far abrogated this right,” he said.

In the government statement, Minister of Information claims the former president is implicated by Cashgate convict and former Principal Secretary for Tourism Treza Senzani.

“The effects of Cashgate are still being felt everywhere in the lives of Malawians. Many sectors such as health and education are currently struggling. Therefore, every Malawian expected the State to investigate the matter and prosecute if they have enough evidence. But releasing statements is not what Malawians hired them for.

“If anything, it should not be the Ministry of Information getting involved in these issues. Let the relevant agencies such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) handle it,” said Suzi-Banda as quoted by The Nation.

Banda said in her statement that she received information from several serving senior civil servants that they are being pressurized by the DPP government to implicate her and former members of her cabinet in cashgate “in the same manner Mrs. Senzani has done.”

Senzani implicates former minister of information Brown Mpinganjira and former PP official Hophmally Makande to have been key players in the plot to siphon money out of the State coffers for the political campaign.

She alleges that former budget director Paul Mphwiyo was at the centre of the scheme which Senzani participated in alongside convicted Leonard Kalonga.

Senzani alleges that Kalonga claimed that Mphwiyo would call Makande and Mpinganjira and put their phone calls on loudspeaker to assure those involved that the move was sanctioned at “a higher level.”

But Banda said the allegations are both “confusing and contradictory.”

Banda continued to state: “ Malawians may wish to appreciate the fact that Mrs. Senzani is the only PS who was implicated in cashgate; tried, convicted and sentenced. If it were a cabinet decision to steal from all ministries, why were the other PSs not involved?”

In the statement, Banda made an “interesting observation” that according to investigations, cashgate occurred between April and August 2013 and that prior to that, “we have evidence that there was another cashgate of MK577 billion theft of public money between 2009 and 2012 that donors and Malawians are pressing for speedy investigation.”

She added: “ Mrs. Senzani’s mansion, which has also been a subject of cashgate investigations, was not built between April and August 2013. Looking at her income as PS, she could not have accumulated such wealth to build the said mansion. After all, she had been PS for a few months. Is it wrong therefore to suggest that the construction of that mansion in Area 36 in Lilongwe was financed by money from the MK577 billion scandal that happened during the late President Bingu wa Mutharika and DPP reign?

“ There must be a stubborn link between the MK577 billion scandal of 2009 and 2012 and the MK20 billion cashgate of 2013. This is why I insist a forensic audit into the MK577 billion must take place as a matter of urgency, especially because both incidences happened within the five-year term of President Bingu wa Mutharika, which I completed when he died in 2012.”

Banda, who currently lives outside Malawi in self -imposed exile, has always insisted of her innocence and claimed in the statement that there are regime “attempts” to tarnish her name and legacy.

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Benjones
Guest

ACB SHOULD INVESTIGATE MRA TOP BOSSES THEY MAKE A LOT OF MONEY OUT OF THESE SO CALLED BUSINESS COMMUNITY. I KNOW OF ONE WHO GOT 100 MILLION TO HELP INVADE TAX AND DUTY OF 25 CONTAINERS.

Nkhombokombo
Guest
Fellow Malawians, it is folly of us to be arguing in the Media about who is who in these Cashgate cases. Much as we have a Sovereign State, the Govt has the power to bring back JB home from wherever she is and answer to these allegations. These are not laughing matters, people!. People are suffering in this Country partly due to these cases and may be also from this experimental type of Governance we are facing now. Even a mad or insane person if provoked, he/she will react. Thus nature, true!, whether in Court or Media as the case… Read more »
kunena mosapsyatila
Guest
Lazaro you are one of the pathetic individuals with cheap English being used by DPP thugs. From your statements, you are a layman in Law void of tangible arguments. Instead of commenting positively, you have exhausted your energy by castigating lawyers (mwaichimunthu/personal). By the way it seems you are not well conversant with good and academically sound lawyers. Ask the guys who have ever attended legals about the likes of Thoko Ngwira, Ralf himself and a good number of boys who handle high profile cases at a low profile. After all, its waste of time to counter argue with a… Read more »
charlie hebdo
Guest

Simenesi ndi sa usilu.mukusiwana nokanoka amene munaba ndalama simenesi.kuno wandu akufa musipatala chifukwa cha inu….sambi simenesi

Angoni apaphata
Guest

Ngati pa dziko lapansi kuli ma lawyer opanda nzeru ndiye ku Malawi. Ma judge ndi ma magistrates ndiye dzidzete dzotheratu. Pali nzeru apa? Lawyer wina ndi uyu tikuti president uyu…. Milandu imakhala mpaka zaka migolo osatha? Treason ya chilumpha ili pati?

Charles Tunthuwa
Guest

Please the government needs to start with the k577 billion and not k20 billion if they are fair enough. All we see is a matter of trying to let J b down its funny and stupid politics existing in Malawi. We need transformation now by young leaders.

chamba eti
Guest

Za uchisiru

levelheaded
Guest

Thumbs up MLS. We have had enough of this from both sides.

BigMan
Guest

Much ado about nothing.

Adrian
Guest

Let her be tried in media as she has chosen that. If clean why so many press statements defending oneself. Why not just come to prove innocence? Its not Law society speaking here, its one JB sympathizer, kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

wpDiscuz

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