Court dismisses application to prosecute Chizuma

A court in Blantyre has thrown out an application by a rights group to prosecution Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director, Martha Chizuma through a private lawyer.

This follows an applicant by Forum for National Development (FND) and a concerned citizen who applied to Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate’d Court to commence legal proceedings against Chizuma over a leaked phone conversation which went viral and caused a storm.

But Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Jean Kaira has dismissed the application.

Chizuma: Safe

FND and Rashid Nembo filed three charges against Chizuma which are that the ACB director revealed official information an unauthorized person, making use of a speech capable of prejudicing against a party to a judicial review and making a speech calculated to lower the authority of a person.

However, Kaira refused to grant permission to Michael Goba Chipeta, lawyer for FND to prosecute to Chizuma, saying he does not have powers to do private prosecution without following the legally stipulated procedures.

“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,” the ruling says.

Kaira also also found FND and Nembo for abusing the court process.

According to Kaira, the case was first filed before Senor Resident Magistrate Msekandiana in Lilongwe but it was dismissed after the magistrate faulted Chipeta for failing to present the complainants in court for examination as required by the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code.

She further said after the case was dismissed the case was brought before the Chief Resident Magistrate Court instead of appealing at the High Court.

Fryson Chodzi, one of the members of FND said the organization has already filed for judicial review on the ruling.

According to Chodzi, FND’s lawyer was not asking for prosecutorial powers but was just reporting a case.

He further said the grouping is not only targeting Chizuma.

“If I may ask who is this other person, that’s the whole reason why we are saying that she must be invited to make a disclosure, who is this other person, because we can not know who this other person its until the director makes a disclosure.

“She knows who she was talking to. We cannot keep on guessing,” Chodzi said.

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