High Court snubs Govt. on Chizuma 

The Malawi High Court has snubbed government’s ‘highly unusual’ instant application filed to seek for an order to vacate an injunction the Court granted the Malawi Law Society (MLS) pending a judicial review of the decision to suspend the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director Martha Chizuma until her criminal defamation case is concluded.

Dissatisfied  with the court’s decision to grant Chizuma relief on her interdiction, the government  has hired the services of private practicing attorneys, Blantyred based Chancy Gondwe and Mzuzu-based Jivason Kadzipayike who on behalf of the State made the application pending its intended application to discharge the earlier permission the Court granted to MLS.

Lawyer Chancy Gondwe
The application, which High Court Judge Mike Tembo described as ‘highly unusual and unprecedented because it was instantly made, was made on nine grounds.
Among others, the State argued that the claimant, MLS, lacks locus standi or sufficient interest in the matter at hand as there were no demonstrable rights that had been violated in the manner the State commenced the criminal proceedings against Chizuma and that MLS misread her objectives by instituting the present action as her conduct is tantamount to interfering with lawfully and properly instituted criminal proceedings under section 83 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code.

Further, it was argued that the High Court Civil Division has no jurisdiction in form of civil judicial review over such a criminal matter as there are alternative remedies available in the High Court Criminal Division and that MLS is acting like a proper surrogate litigant when the actual aggrieved party is competent to challenge the defendants’ conduct and has not challenged nor complained in this matter.

On the issue of urgency, Gondwe said the making of the application without notice to the claimant was made because the nature of the issues on the present application are urgent and of paramount importance to the nation and to all the parties involved and that a quick resolution of the issues will be in the interest of all the parties involved.

However, Justice Tembo while agreeing that the issue is of paramount importance to the nation, the whole issue of an instant application was misplaced.

On MLS, the Judge said that said it appeared to be within its statutory remit of protecting on matters of public interest pertaining to the law.

He then declined the application saying it lacked merit.

Meanwhile, Kadzipatike has told the media that they will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

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