This matter concerns an American immigrant and citizen who was born a Malawian – Foster F. Fundi, who volunteers himself as a mercenary cadet for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) despite lacking practical experience of the political goings-on in his former native country – Malawi.
As this matter finds itself in this Kangaroo Court, Mr. Fundi provocatively opined that the State President should reinstate Dr. Chaponda , the former cabinet minister who was heading the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water development. Dr. Chaponda’s firing was a matter of deep public interest.
Mr. Fundi’s opinion was so put as to resemble adornment of authority by assuming not only an order commanding the State President to reinstate the fired cabinet minister, but also inscribing that the citizens’ efforts to expose Dr. Chaponda and the subsequent presidential action were sad, immoral and criminal.
Transmitting everything, including any errors (grammatical or otherwise) contained therein, his statement, which was posted on Facebook, is hereunder reproduced (verbatim):
“Vindicated. Reliably informed that ACB was able to account for every penny they confiscated from Dr. Chaponda Chaponda and an apology is in the works. It’s been also revealed that after a long and exhaustive investigation, they found no scintilla of evidence of corruption let alone conspiracy to commit crime contrary to what opposition backed media and schizophrenic Kamlepo Kalua propagated. These politically motivated conspiracies destroyed an innocent and decent long time serving civil servant and a fellow citizen. It’s sad, immoral and criminal. As I have said all along and as the honourable minister himself admitted, the only crime he committed is not following the procurement procedure to the teeth. When lives are at stake, great and patriotic leaders do everything in their power to save lives even if it means circumventing government bureaucracy. I am really troubled that even a once independent PAC fell prey to the conspiracies hatched and propagated by Kamlepo/Kampanikiza and company. Regardless of our politics, this should never ever happened to anyone. I therefore call upon President Mutharika to reinstate honourable minister to his cabinet post once the report is made public in the next few weeks.”
At this point, this Court is compelled to dwell on its habit of reviewing the genesis of the underlying matter:
Revelations emanated from bush radios and whistle-blowers exposing suspected fraudulent dealings by the said Dr. Chaponda in his said former cabinet ministerial position. His bemoaned conduct mounted to criminal suspicions. The accusations claimed a fraudulent procurement of maize, by him on behalf of the Malawi government, from Zambia. The minute details of such fraud have there space hereunder as we proceed. It must be admitted, at this point, that Malawi had, before Dr. Chaponda’s incident, never seen a suspected thief born so lucky in life that the whole government machinery shields him from accusations of his own suspicious conduct.
Nevertheless, his initial resistance backed by the Executive on such accusations got overpowered by the public interest-inspired vigilance that was undertaken by the whistle-blowers and some privately owned media institutions.
Undeniably, the scandal was spreading like wildfire, evoking public pain like violent cancer so much that the society started building pressure. Activated by such pressure, President Mutharika commissioned, in January, a four – member Commission of Inquiry to enquire into the said maize saga. He told the Commission, upon taking oath on January 6, to “get to the bottom of the matter and come up with the truth.”
In justifying his delay of action and claiming credit for commissioning the commission, Mutharika said that as President, he “would not act on rumours but facts”. Notwithstanding the delay, this was the expected standard of procedure that the State President could do. Any competent administration is expected to take its action based on facts gathered through properly constituted legal processes that allows governance institutions to be given space and do their rightful roles in line with the prevailing constitutional order. But that does not justify delayed dispensation of justice.
Thus to some extent, however, the delay, by his administration, in overtly deciding this procedural action denies the President the rightful claim of interest to justice in this matter if the saying that “justice delayed is justice denied” claims any respect in our midst (which it does).
Also responsive to the public interest, the legislature sprung into commendable action by dispatching its own independent Commission of Inquiry which was jointly carried out by Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture. Thus both the legislature-sanctioned and presidential-sanctioned commissions constitute a legally recognized institutional framework that seeks to play a constitutional role of subsisting good governance in their common investigative mandates.
As the nation was eventually unanimously told by these two commissions, Dr. Chaponda was found in the wrong to the extent that his conduct was not short of a serious crime, as known in our penal laws. The two commissions independently found that the procurement of the maize was flouted with discrepancies in such that government procedures were not followed and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs as government’s legal advisor was by-passed.
The findings further revealed that Dr. Chaponda did not only suspiciously pick Transglobe to transport maize from Zambia but also issued them a fake export permit to use. There were both outright intentions to defraud government and gross negligence on the part of Dr. Chaponda and his team. Thus the two commissions recommended that the ACB should further investigate them so as to secure tight evidence for the purposes of prosecution and, probably, tracing and netting his accomplices.
While these commissions’ implicative findings were enough to warrant legit suspension of Dr. Chaponda, as he was to be undergoing such further rigorous investigations by the ACB, President Mutharika maintained Dr. Chaponda as cabinet minister until the ACB, in pursuit of the recommendations by the commissions, raided the home of Dr. Chaponda and found gross amounts of forex and local currencies hidden in his bedroom.
In particular, the ACB investigators confiscated MK124 million; US$58 500; 2 720 Indian Rupee; 518 Ethiopian Birr; 610 Botswana Pula; 1 200 Mozambican Meticais; 1 250 Kenyan Shillings; 80 Hong Kong Dollars; 1 010 Japanese Yen; 22 370 South African Rands; 55 Euros; 29 Zambian Kwacha and 100 Namibian Dollar; all of which were said to be illegally possessed. The money was reportedly handed over to the Reserve Bank of Malawi.
In the trail of the infamous financial scandal in Malawi, called Cashgate, one Victor Sithole was arrested on spot for being found in possession of 122 million Malawi kwacha and US$22, 000. He was charged with three offences namely; Money laundering, illegal possession of foreign currency and being found with property reasonably suspected of being stolen and earned himself nine years imprisonment with hard labour.
While Sithole was arrested on spot and investigations were done whilst he was in police custody, no attempt was made to arrest Dr. Chaponda, a then cabinet minister. Until today, months down the line, his hands are still slippery for the handcuffs and he is still too innocent, or should we say too dignified, to land in jail.
As if this is not enough mockery to our justice system, here is Mr. Fundi accusing the people of being “immoral and criminal” for merely accusing a suspected thief, in the name of Dr. Chaponda, and having him relieved of his public office.
While questioning the integrity of his remarks, this court can do better in reminding Mr. Fundi and his like-minded that Malawi is a Constitutional Democracy and it is in the underlying principle that gives foundation to our Constitution, as prescribed in Chapter III s.12 thereto, that all legal and political authority of the State is derived from the people and shall be exercised accordingly as solely to serve and protect their (the people’s) interests.
It also goes to say that such persons responsible for the exercise of powers of State, as Dr. Chaponda used to, do so on trust and shall only exercise such power to the extent of their lawful authority and in accordance with their responsibilities to the people. Indeed, as Section 12 (iii) provides, the authority to exercise power of State is conditional upon the sustained trust of the people. It is this trust that provides and maintains the lawfulness. In the light of the wide public outcry and numerous recommendations to have Dr. Chaponda fired and arrested, the very last grain of public trust on him had undoubtedly eroded. He lost his opportunity to serve in that public office.
In well-functioning democracies, when serious allegations of wrongdoing are made against a public officer, and in this case, the said Cabinet Minister, and investigations of the magnitude witnessed in this matter are commenced, resignations and/or firing are the immediate remedy. Here is Mr. Fundi, claiming to be too democratic and well-informed, condemning the implementation of this remedy. Perhaps it’s high time this Court took stock of Mr. Fundi for the purposes of ascertaining the posture of his mental faculties or intentions.
Before the year 2003, Mr. Fundi migrated to the United States of America (USA) where he eventually married a white natizen before acquiring his own US citizenship. In 2003, he secured a job at Citizens Financial Group Inc where he worked until his dismissal in July 2005. He got dismissed for cashing out on a stolen check belonging to the company of his employment. The relevance of this information to the underlying issue, of his remarks over the accusations and firing of Dr. Chaponda, will be made clear in this judgement as we proceed.
After months of suffering unemployment, he, in November 2005, commenced legal action, compiling, to two different tribunals (namely the Rhodes Island Commission for Human Rights (RICHR) and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC)), accusations of racial discrimination. Both tribunals gave him recommendations and authority to litigate his employer in Court. He did so in February, 2007.
Through his lawyer, he claimed suffering loss of income, pension benefits, health benefits, as well as mental and physical anguish including pain. Just as in the case of Dr. Chaponda, he was, in his own case, self-convinced that he was an innocent black man subjected to unfair treatment. Oh, what a campaign of a callous and conscienceless mind settling on selfish spirits!
In his submission to the Court of Rhodes Island, he cried as follows: “I thought guidance from management regarding a check that I did not feel comfortable cashing. Despite my concerns, my manager insisted that I cash the check and he placed his employee number on the back of the check documenting this approval to cash the check.”
However, his in-born dishonesty failed to escape the notice of the jury and the court. All his prayers were dismissed for lacking merit of claims in view of his outright infraction and/or misdeed. While he indicated that he was denied promotion opportunities based not on merit but race, he offered absolutely no particulars as to existence of such opportunities and denials. This is a clear manifestation of the misguided volatility of his strange judgement which always invites, upon himself, a feeling of being unjustly treated whenever famine hits his ego.
His campaign to play a card of victim of racial segregation only resulted into his own embarrassment as he failed to justify the same, just as he is failing to justify why he thinks Dr. Chaponda should override the principles of our Constitution and escape the consequences of his infractions duly admonished by our applicable laws.
In his unsolicited, but stinking verdict, he has excluded any attention on the stashes of illegally-possessed money that was found in Dr. Chaponda’s bedroom and slice his opinion to the thematic maize improper procurement scandal.
Construing his pleadings in the light most favourable to him and his client, taking all pleaded claims as necessary and drawing all reasonable inferences in his favor, this Kangaroo Court finds that the conclusory failure to honestly realize that circumvention of government bureaucracy entails circumventing law and order (a very unacceptable practice) and failure to include the allegations of money laundering and possible theft thereof, as he was trying to promote his claim of innocence on the part of Dr Chaponda, is due exposure of his dishonest and ill-stuffed mind on his part and lends his bubbling to dismissal, ridicule and rebuke of the highest order, pursuant to contours of not only justice, but also our applicable laws. He is seen to be a proxy disciple of confusion, disorder and illegality.
This Court sees no necessary material elements so respected to sustain his wishes for Dr. Chaponda under any actionable legal theory. Borrowing the observation made in “Chongris v Bd. of Appeals. 811F.2d 36, 37 (1st Cir. 1987,” Mr. Fundi is, at best, herein seen to allege compassion than outlining viable claims. His remarks are affording “bald assertions,” unsupportable conclusions and opprobrious epithets. To this far, this Court describes Mr. Fundi as a pompous tycoon of unsafe verdicts impressed upon by his own volatile ego which dearly lacks welcome in Malawi, a country he long – abandoned. This Court, therefore, bothers itself to indicate to Mr. Fundi that his irrelevant and poor opinion is not appreciated in our jurisdiction. He is the least informed when we turn to native affairs (social, economic, political or legal). He must stay away!
As to his indication of knowledge of findings of the ACB in the further investigations on Dr. Chaponda, before the same have been made known to the relevant authorities including the State President and the Parliament, he has only managed to vindicate the public fears that the ACB lacks professionalism and good faith in its assigned duties. It appears the ACB abandoned its constitutional obligation and dwelled on private mission of working out on how to VINDICATE Dr. Chaponda as Mr. Fundi has briefed. Well, this worry has been disseminated sufficiently and it will equip all us with the forensic zeal and ability to subject the imminent ACB report to deep scrutiny.
Meanwhile, this Court reserves the right of treating Mr. Fundi’s claims about ACB findings as a mere farce until ACB allows itself to own the shame. Needless to say, however, that the way ACB is miscarrying its professionalism seems intolerably tragic and it must be treated with the contempt it deserves.
As indicated earlier on, Mr. Fundi, who attained a US citizenship, currently residing at 367 Simmonsville Avenu; Apartment 310; Johnston; R102919, has little experience with what is currently going on in Malawi. His assumption to be a proxy controller of our affairs is what this Court strongly seeks to condemn. His intrinsic assumption that he bears enlightenment to our society persuades this Court to invite the public to unapologetically rebuke and condemn him with passion. He is an alien – a misinformed one for that matter!
The United States, through Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi in the Rhodes Island Magistrate Court, refused to be fair to thieves like him in his own case: Fundi v. Citizen Financial Group (2007) 1:07-cv-00078-ML-LDA. Why does he cry for Malawi to be fair to suspected thieves like Chaponda?
This Court is convinced beyond any kind of doubt that Mr. Fundi and Chaponda share the same DNA of theft and foul cry. As a matter of mere illumination, this Court is reliably informed that following this criminal court case which he lost, he got blacklisted and cannot secure any employment in any part of the United States. He is jobless and merely surviving on the economic legs of his wife. On his part, he is turned into a hustler who, at times, gets money through such mercenary acts as he is currently doing on Dr. Chaponda. He is, thus, pretty much sure that once Dr. Chaponda gets reinstated, as his crazy wishes pray, he would be considered ‘something’ in return. This Court finds this conduct to be absolutely uncalled for. This is not how to make a good living. He might eventually go to hell.
Allowing his own conduct and inclination of his own judgement to prevail and guide any comment about him, this Court classifies Mr. Fundi as a fortifier of arrogance and ignorance alike. He is a perpetuator of poor application of reason. He is also fitting the description of Lord of Lies and Stupidity. I, Lord Denning, therefore dismiss him with passion.
Pronounced this Friday, 30th June of 2017
In the Court of Public Opinion,
The Kangaroo Court.
Lord Denning is a Facebook username for Negracious Justin. A Diploma Law Student at Chancellor College.
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