Judge Zione Ntaba labelled corrupt for granting stay on Minister Msukwa’s warrant of arrest

Governance and legal luminaries have questioned the legality of an order Judge of the High Court in Zomba, Zione Ntaba granted to the embattled Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Kezzie Msukwa, stopping the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) from executing a warrant of arrest.

Judge Ntaba elsewhere has been labelled as “corrupt” for shielding her bedfellows and called upon her to resign than tarnish the Malawi judiciary’s reputation who earned international repute.

Judge Zione Ntaba: faces call to resign for issuing questionable ruling to defend the corrupt

Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa of the Lilongwe Registry on Thursday last week issued a warrant of arrest for Msukwa who is suspected to have received bribes connected to land deals from businessman Sattar’s agent Ashok Nair.

The warrant of arrest came barely a few days after ACB had issued an order restricting the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development from dealing with properties where Sattar, has beneficial interest.

The Bureau effected the arrest on Friday whilst Msukwa “feigned” an illness and went to receive treatment at Partners in Hope in Lilongwe.

However, Msukwa successfully escaped his appointed time in police cells through a stay order Judge Ntaba issued against his “purported arrest, including further detention in the hospital, until the determination of the leave application and inter partes application for stay.”

“The Defendant or her agents are advised that when it does execute any warrant of arrest against the Claimant to do so as per the Constitution including informing him of the reason of his arrest as well as his rights thereunder including being produced before the Chief Resident Magistrate on the same day of arrest to answer the said charges or informed time and date when he should appear before the said Magistrate,” ordered Ntaba before transferring the case back to the Lilongwe Registry where ACB sought the warrant of arrest.

The “disgraced” Judge further described as unlawful the execution of Msukwa’s warrant of arrest while at a hospital in Lilongwe on Friday.

But Ntaba’s order has left tongues of different governance and legal experts wagging, with others describing it illegal.

International Prosecutor and former Director of Public Prosecutions Kamudoni Nyasulu has called Judge Ntaba’s order “illegal” schooling the Judge on matters of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code saying: “The decision is illegal because it violates Section 6 of the said Code which says the High Court has no jurisdiction in a criminal matter unless the case has previously been investigated by a subordinate court and the accused person having been committed for trial before the High Court.”

Former Attorney General (AG) Charles Mhango, for instance, said he saw a serious overlap between procedure and substance in the way the application for permission to apply for judicial review against the decision to obtain a warrant of arrest.

“The Court seems to have already condemned the ACB with statements like ‘The Defendant and her agent’s conduct are to a degree unconscionable and unreasonable…’, without hearing the ACB. I don’t know where to place the principle of “audi alteram partem” as in ‘hear the other party” in this ruling as a cardinal principle before condemning someone,” wrote Mhango on his Facebook page.

While the Malawi Law Society (MLS) president Patrick Mpaka described the ruling as “unusual.”

A renowned social and governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali expressed disappointment with the tendency by lawyers to “shop judges”, citing lawyer Lughano Mwabutwa who sought the services of the High Court in Zomba when the warrant of arrest was issued in Lilongwe where his client lives.

Meanwhile, ACB Director General Martha Chizuma has disclosed that the Bureau does not agree with the court order for a stay on the arrest and detention of Msukwa.

Chizuma said while they are in the process of complying with the court order, the Bureau is preparing to apply for its discharge.

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Mhango
13 days ago

This is indian power my fellow malawians!!!

nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
13 days ago

olo osapita ku school ya law zione ntaba atsitse cala pasi. we dont need you

Chiphwisi
Chiphwisi
14 days ago

Chattam house will award Ntaba because it appears the british see what we dont see. Condemning people before they are heard is what our courts do. They did that to the elecyoral commissioners rhat they condemned as incompent but they havr no where to complain because courts in Malawi have resolved to do things against anything DPP

Medson Kamala
Medson Kamala
14 days ago

Something is fishy here. Clash of personalities. But why in Zomba!

Maja de souza
Maja de souza
13 days ago
Reply to  Medson Kamala

Apandiyetu mukusakaniza nkhanitu……Mwangozazidwa ndi mzimu wa u cadet

China
China
14 days ago

Action needs to be taken judge uyu Sali bwino.This is not the first case she has let these thieves free.Anthu akumapita Ku Zomba ndi milandu knowing they will be let free.ACB tafufuzani Ku Zombako

nsabwendiimeneyitu basi.
nsabwendiimeneyitu basi.
13 days ago
Reply to  China

Eetu kusiya zake zija zione.alume wake pa maumboni opelekedaa Aja, anali mu nkhani nao za ma alibino…
Asatitopetse uyuyu

Gumede
Gumede
13 days ago
Reply to  China

Agreed. Zomba High Court leaves a lot to be desired. It has always been an infingement to judicial system. Rotten to the core!!

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