Chodzi frowns on Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Kayira’s ruling in Chizuma’s leaked audio case

Forum for National Development (FND) has described the dismissal of its application to have Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma  prosecuted over a leaked audio conversation as “strange.”

FND National Coordinator, Fryson Chodzi, and his colleague Lameck Rashid Nembo, sought the intervention of the court to issue summons under Section 84 (1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code compelling Chizuma to appear in court to answer three charges.

They include directly revealing of official information to an unauthorized person, which is contrary to regulation 4 (a) of the Corrupt Practices (Oath of Secrecy) Regulations, making use of speech capable of prejudicing a person against a party to a judicial proceedings, contrary to Section 113(1) (d) of the penal Code and making use of speech calculated to lower the authority of a person before whom a judicial proceeding had contrary to section 113(1) (d) of the penal Code.

Chodzi–We find it strange as our role was just to report the alleged offences and we expected DPP to determine whether the matter is worthy prosecution or not

However, the Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Jean Kaira last week dismissed the application, arguing Chodzi and Nembo did not follow legally stipulated procedures why they commenced the action.

“It is true that Section 82(1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code is discretionally. The reason is simple. There has to be genuine reason why prosecution commences with the court and not through the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). There is no correspondence or engagement with the Director of Public Prosecution.

“In this court’s considered view therefore, it would be unreasonable to assure that the DPP has not assisted the two complainants herein. I am therefore reluctant to grant prosecutorial powers to Counsel,” reads part of the ruling.

Further, Kayira condemned the two for abusing the court process for filing the case twice, first before Senor Resident Magistrate Msekandiana in Lilongwe where it was dismissed.

But Chodzi has described the ruling as “strange”.

“We find it strange as our role was just to report the alleged offences and we expected at the least, the magistrate to ask the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] to determine whether the matter is worthy prosecution or not. However, the determination does not in any way render the report invalid or clears the wrong doing on the part of the ACB Director,” he said in an interview on Saturday.

And in a statement issued on Wednesday, Chodzi said this notwithstanding, his organization still believes that Chizuma’s position at ACB is unattainable, arguing “she cannot successfully prosecute and secure any conviction relate to corruption unless her wrong doing undergoes a due process of the law.”

He alleged that Chizuma “antagonized the very same courts she will seek justice from and until she reveals the name of the corrupt judges and also expose the judge who got money from Mr. Ashok Nair and has already prejudiced other suspects under the law, which might lead to mistrial.”

“She has antagonized the legal fraternity and until she names and shame the 20 corrupt lawyers and prosecute them. She has been compromised by the President’s forgiveness, which is breaking of the law in itself. She has broken the law under oath of secrecy, which carries a prison sentence, or fine, and only until she exonerate herself, she will be looked at as a law breaker who only survived at the mercy of the President.

“She has proven that she is sympathy seeking by talking sensitive matters with people outside her office which brings to question the level of exposure that ACB has suffered. She has proven to be an agent and serving interest of a foreign government especially that of Britain and other western Government by her own admission that ‘Azungu trust her.

“Based on the foregoing and with strong conviction we have, FND continue to urge the appointing authority and indeed Ms. Martha Chizuma to do what is right by allowing the rule of law to take its course.  We ought to remember that fighting corruption is a collective responsibility and cannot be personalized,” reads part of the statement.

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