Ansah, Muhara, Kaphale shamed in Ombudsman report: ‘Acted illegally’ on South Africa lawyers’ deal for Malawi elections case

Ombudsman Martha Chizuma on Thursday released a report titled  ‘Upholding Professionalism,’ an investigation that her  Office carried out into allegations of abuse of power and other acts of maladministration in the procedure  of procuring and engaging South African (SA) lawyers by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for the presidential election appeal case in which former Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, former MEC chairperson Jane Ansah and High Court Judge Lloyd Muhara – all from the legal profession- have been shamed for flouting  laws abused power.

Ombudsman; Martha Chizuma: Released the report in Lilongwe  titled  Upholding Professionalism,
Ansah:  Ordered to pay back K3.1 million in public funds
Muhara : Judicial Service Commission asked to review his attainability as judge
Kaphale: Faulted, ordered to pay back the money
Kajoloweka:  YAS lodged the complaint and welcomed the determination, saying the youth and governance organisation will study the report for further action.

The investigation was motivated by a complaint dated 14th April, 2020 lodged  by Youth and Society (YAS) – an organisation. led by vibrant activist Charles Kajoloweka.

The YAS complaint alleged various acts of maladministration in the manner in which MEC procured the services of South Africa lawyers  Dumisa Buhle Ntsebeza SC and Counsel Elizabeth Makhanani Baloyi-Mere.

In their findings, the Office of the Ombudsman said Kaphale and Ansah, a retired Justice of Appeal of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal,  abused  their powers and breaching procurement laws in connection with the South African lawyers.

Chizuma said the failure by the former AG and former MEC Chairperson to negotiate fees  that were reasonable was maladministration.

“The surrendering of the soft copy of the Constitutional Court record by the MEC  Chairperson and the former AG to the South Africa lawyers even before the procurement  processes had begun was clearly unreasonable and a mockery to the procurement  guidelines,” said Chizuma.

“The pressure exerted by [Ansah] on the Internal Procurement and  Disposal Committee (IPDC) to the extent that they failed to properly deliberate  on this procurement and merely rubber stamped the decisions that were made by the MEC Chairperson and the AG was improper.

She said the former AG and MEC Chair “acted illegally” for facilitating the travel of  Mboweni Maluleke Inc. A to Malawi and start executing the Retainer Agreement  before a ‘No Objection’ had been received from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA).

The Ombudsman ordered Kaphale and Ansah to refund in equal amounts K3 155 248   in public funds used to host the South African lawyers  through accommodation, beverages and meals at The President’s Hotel in Lilongwe.

“This money should be paid back to MEC and proof of payment should be submitted to my office by 28th April 2021,” she said.

Further, the Ombudsman also tasked the Judicial Service Commission to review Muhara’s attainability as judge following his alleged involvement in the controversy.

The investigation, she said, uncovered that Muhara, while serving as Chief Secretary to the Government, influenced the illegal appointment of board chairperson for PPDA.

The former Chief Secretary “knowingly, deliberately or out of sheer incompetence” facilitated the illegal appointment of private practice lawyer Madalitso M’meta as chairperson of the PPDA board.

The report further uncovered that M’meta ended up playing a critical role in enabling MEC to hire the South African lawyers in disregard of the laws.

“The failure by the PPDA to articulate with certainty what method of  procurement was used in this matter was an abrogation of duty.

“The failure by the Board to reconvene and deliberate on the technical report was an abdication of their duty and contrary to the set internal procedures at the PPDA,” said the Ombudsman in the report.

M’meta has also been ordered to reimburse K8.7 million in allowances he received between November 2018 and June 2020 as PPDA board chairperson.

Asked for a comment, Ansah said she will only  comment on the matter when she reads the report.

Commentator Mike Fiko argued that Ansah “symbolized a dark force that assaulted our democracy” and her continued clung to MEC was not good for Malawi and generations to come.

“The respect, the integrity, the honesty and the adoration that brought Ansah to MEC is all gone. She left MEC weighed with guilt and anger—and that is where her history, the history of Jane Ansah’s stay at MEC begins. It will be one a profile in shame.”

Kaphale said he has received a copy of the report  and was going to read it, saying  if he has to make any step, he will comment.

Muhara could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Wisdom
Wisdom
1 month ago

The problem with Malawians is that we like sweeping issues under the carpet. If we are really serious with uprooting this evil of corruption, we need to hold these servants of Malawi to account. Izi sizakalekale. Those who say that are themselves benefitting from this evil. These guys should be made to pay for subjecting the nation to one of the darkest experiences the nation has ever known. Malawians will not forget easily.

Hawell
1 month ago

MEC was under pleasure what could it do? It asked lawyers to represent them but all said they were already engaged by the petitioners mumati anzanu akanatani? Mind you moto umapita uko kwatsala tchire zoonadi lero you are pushing these ppo left and right tomorrow dont think you are angels. There are some incidences when we should accept the blame. Because the judiciary then had the powers to allocate some lawyers to represent MEC but no wonder that it was a calculated move koma dziwani that a measure you use for ur colleague mawa womwewo adzakuyeza nawonso. Bwanji iwe Martha… Read more »

Wisdom
Wisdom
1 month ago
Reply to  Hawell

This is just silly. These people knew what they were doing was against the policies and procedures of the organisations they were entrusted with. They need to be held accontable.

Matambiko
Matambiko
1 month ago

Ansah, Kaphale, Muhara and M’meta constituted an evil quartet that had deliberately connived to assault the constitutional democratic order of the Malawi nation.

nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
1 month ago

yep!
still paying them in full. Stinky system

jeni anangosowa pano ndi m busa ku nottingham UK.
the linda and mathangas still on loose. Lord tiomboleni.
no milandu for
bakili
jb
pitala
ntaba
cisale
caponda maize saga he bribed.
so commissions done and nothing came out .
bwanji kungotiuza in ma jaji kuti wankulu samangidwa lwt alone pooing.

laws
laws
1 month ago

if you point a finger at your friend,Three fingers points at yourself.Wait very soon the hunter will be hunted

Tizanka
Tizanka
1 month ago

Diversionary tactics kkkkk propaganda for a faille government

Mulumuzana
Mulumuzana
1 month ago

Marcopolo, Do you want public officers not to be taken to task for the wrongs they have done. I think that’s not the way Malawi need to take. Such comments as yours are the ones that encourages abuse off power and misuse of Government moneys, for they created a safe haven for office bearers. Remember all those challenged by the Ombudsman are but Lawyers and we’ll equipped to defend themselves. Let’s not

Marcopolo
Marcopolo
1 month ago

What we will never hear is that the election case was a conspiracy. It actually puzzles me up to now why a person that went to seek justice for the people in the name of a rigged or undue election got paid billions and the people he did it for got nothing? No one talks about it! The narrative has been to demonise anyone associated with DPP. This Martha Chizuma is just a pawn in the game of Chess. Being used to champion darkness and persecution which many think is the rule of law. Take for instance, why should the… Read more »

MCP Diehard
MCP Diehard
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcopolo

Eh Khani yakukhudzani iyi eti?
You are contradicting and twisting yourself into a pretzel.

Marcopolo
Marcopolo
1 month ago

Any critical eye would notice the script Martha is following. Any elastic rubber has its own level of elasticity. Much as this woman is intelligent, she will soon come to break. Martha is stepping her mandate and just like any mbuzi yomwe yakondwa just know for sure, the buyers are on the way.

Lego
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcopolo

Learn to appreciate and give credit to someone who is doing good.What good things do you want to bring sanity in our country?SHAME with you comment.

Malembo Folo
Malembo Folo
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcopolo

You wish

Chacharito
Chacharito
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcopolo

How I continue to wish that Malawi had such ethical, professional, and objective people in high offices like this Martha Chazuma.As many said before, Jane Ansah & Kalekeni Kaphale were just too compromised professionals dancing to the tune of the aged and expired former President Peter Muthalika

Opportunist
Opportunist
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcopolo

We need more of Martha Calibre so that this country can see meaniful change in how public servants discharge their duties

Marcopolo
Marcopolo
1 month ago
Reply to  Opportunist

Agreed bwana and Martha if she is to be taken seriously, let her bark against any wrongs that are being committed now. In order not perceive any change of Government in future as a cause for such behaviour.

Amfumu
1 month ago

Diversion. Chizuma is a Chakwera agent. Shupiti.

The Sniper.
The Sniper.
1 month ago
Reply to  Amfumu

You can be so stupid! Chuzuma has been there before Chakwera, chutsiru iwe!

Marcopolo
Marcopolo
1 month ago
Reply to  Amfumu

Exactly Chakwera’s agent! These people have been meeting to plan and they found Martha Chizuma as a spot to do what they want. All her reports have been going to her team of MCP mafias to edit and then give consent. Their agent at Ombudsman is Arthur Semba who actually meets Mkaka and Chimwendo at Capital Hotel. Malawians are only hoodwinked into believing that Martha is doing this for the public good. Observe and observe. Ife anyamata a Lilongwe tikuzitsata izi. We worked hard to oust DPP but what we now see is not what we hoped for. Like I… Read more »

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