Court acquits Malawi Immigration Officer on corruption charges

The Mzuzu First Grade Magistrate Court has acquitted a senior Accounts Assistant working for the Immigration department in Mzuzu of three counts bordering on corruption after the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) failed to prove that the Officer corruptly solicited MK3500.

The ACB also failed to parade its principal witness in Court despite wasting tax payer’s money by buying a return air ticket to South Africa and booking accommodation.

The ACB arrested Martha Banda on 26th October 2011 on allegations that she corruptly solicited MK2000 from Charles Junior Nyirenda as a reward to release his passport.

The graft busting body also further alleged that on 28th October 2011, Banda further obtained MK1500 from Nyirenda.

Thus the ACB charged Banda with soliciting contrary to section 24 (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act, obtaining contrary to section 24 (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act and abuse of public office contrary to section 25B (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act.

But Banda through her Mzuzu based prominent Lawyer Christon Ghambi of CHARM Associates denied all the charges and told the Court that she was approached by her neighbor a Mr. Chirambo to help in getting the passport for Nyirenda. She said she was given a receipt at home.

She said she only played the role of a good neighbor but was shocked when after handing over the passport to Nyirenda but Nyirenda produced MK3500 and insisted that she take it but she refused.

Banda’s office mates corroborated her story.

But ACB’s witnesses and officers stunned the Court when it came to light that they had complied to frame Banda.

Demobry Kamanga told the court ACB officers in Mzuzu ordered him to get MK2000, which he brought to their offices for photocopying.

He after the money was photocopied, the ACB officers ordered to go and give Banda the money.

During cross examination by Christon Ghambi of CHARM Associates Kamanga emphasized that everything they did was under the direction of ACB officers saying they never had any intention of giving the Banda any money.

ACB’s Assistant Documentation Officer MJ Kalimbuka also accepted in cross examination to have given direction on the giving of the money.

Another ACB Officer, Chikondi Lipato, also stunned the Court when she admitted that she ordered the money photocopied as evidence for the offence of obtaining which had not yet been committed.

In his ruling Magistrate Brian Msiska quashed the ACB’s case saying they failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

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