Civil society organisations on Tuesday served Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya with High Court documents in relation to the suspension of Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda.
This follows the reluctance by Msowoya on Monday to announce in the House that Chaponda was on suspension in the absence of the court documents relating to the High Court ordered suspension.
Wesley Mwafulirwa, lawyer for the civil society organisations which succesfully obtained the suspension order said he would be serving with the documents on Tuesday.
“I heard that the Speaker could not act on Dr Chaponda because he did not have the documents so we will be furnishing him with the documents today (Tuesday),” said Mwafulirwa.
He however expressed surprise that Msowoya did not have the court documents when the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale was duly served.
The Attorney General is the government’s principal legal advisor and also act for the same for parliament.
Msowoya said as a Malawian, he knows that Chaponda is serving a suspension but cannot announce in the Chamber sittig for 2016/17 Mid-Year Budget Review in the absence of legal documents from either the government or the civil society organisations.
“I have not received communication from either government or the High Court in Mzuzu regarding the status of the Leader of the House. So, I cannot make pronouncements when I have no information on the matter,” he said.
The Speaker unsuccessfully tried to curtail debate on the matter before Salima North West legislator Jessie Kabwila (MCP) rose to remind Msowoya that there was no point skirting around on Chaponda’s status when the High Court in Mzuzu had already given its stand on the matter through an order granted to civil society organisations.
Kabwila, therefore, asked the Speaker to simply regard the minister as former leader of the House in light of a court order against him performing his duties.
But Msowoya told the House that none of the affected parties had formally communicated to his office what had happened, hence, he could not speculate.
“As a person, I might have known what happened. But as Speaker, I cannot act on newspaper or zikachitika mumvera kwa ife to bring it to the House,” he emphasised.
Chaponda is on suspension to pave way for investigations on allegations of suspicious dealings in the procurement of Admarc maize from Zambia.
He is alleged to have played a role in the maize deal that has gone sour between Admarc and two Zambian companies —Kaloswe Commuters and Courier Limited and Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :