Law expert backs Matemba: Tells ACB to keep names in judges bribery attempt under wraps

Prominent South Africa-based Malawian law professor Danwood Chirwa has put his weight behind Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) decision to keep under wraps suspects’ names in the alleged judge bribery saga.

Danwood Chirwa, a South Africa-based law expert, agrees that suspects names be withheld until investigations are through
ACB director general Matemba flanked by deputy director Eliah Bodole, gave a description of the suspects but fell short of naming them.
Chirwa says the ACB director general Reyneck Matemba has been correct in his decision to shield the suspects names as of now.
“He has been correct not to act on the spur of the moment and effect an arrest,” Chirwa says.
He said Matemba needs to carry out the investigations in a way that does not disrupt the judges completing their task.
The five-judge panel comprising Healey Potani, Ivy Kamanga, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu and Mike Tembo completed hearing the landmark case on December 20 2019 broadcast live on radio, a first in the country. The judges are set to deliver their judgement not later than first week of February.
“I would not even suggest that he waits until judgment is delivered. As the judges are the main witnesses in the case, there is no need to disrupt their job at this stage,” said Chirwa.
He said Matemba should continue keeping the suspects names close to his chest while continuing with the investigations.
“There can be no side show leading to the investigations ,” said Chirwa.
The professor said in the bribery allegations in the ongoing elections case, so far the judges and Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda have taken the high road and done the right thing.
“In a high profile case like this and in a country where corruption is rampant, it was expected that attempts will be made to compromise the judges.
“The whole idea of having five judges, not just three, was to reduce chance of corruption to zero. It also happens that the composition of this particular bench is such that it is impossible for it to be bribed,” said Chirwa.
Chirwa says the general public must trust the judges and allow them to deliberate freely, without any form of pressure or inducement, so that they can come up with a judgement that they believe is just in accordance with the facts and the applicable law.
“We as critics will, likewise, assess and evaluate their judgement based on facts and the law only.
“There are several things at play in this saga. There are charlatans who want to profit from their corrupt political superiors by pretending that they have a pathway to bribing the judges. They get the money but never approach the judges and claim to have delivered the cash,” he said.
He said the inappropriate approach that is the subject of an ongoing ACB investigation must be understood in various ways, saying one, it could have been a genuine attempt to bribe the judges; two, it could have been an effort to swindle the superiors of money;  three, both one and two; four, it could have been intended only to bring the court into disrepute.
Chirwa said the judges made the right decision in accordance with their own personal beliefs and values but also with their constitutional and professional ethical obligations.
“They must continue to deliberate and to write the judgement, which they must deliver in February as they promised. I hope they also ignore the sensationalization of the allegations by party functionaries on social media and focus on the task at hand,” said Chirwa.
Chirwa said Matemba is also correct to say that the bribery complaint is against individuals and not a party, saying It’s hard to prove that connection in a court of law.

In the elections case, two of the presidential candidates in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, UTM Party’s Saulos Chilima (the first petitioner) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Lazarus Chakwera (the second petitioner) want the court to nullify presidential election results over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system.

Incumbent President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who was declared winner of the elections, is the first respondent with Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) as the second respondent.

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Mtete
Mtete
8 months ago

The “Suspects are”….is not the same as ” The Wrongdoers are”. In the first case the people are only being suspected while in the second it has already been proven that they are the culprits. Matemba’s pussyfooing is bordering on incompetency in my view.

Looks like being an ACB Director is just ceremonial as we really have not seen any high profile conviction regardless of whoever has headed the institution.

Chamunorwa
Chamunorwa
8 months ago

There are five judges. Why want to bribe two only. Were the other three already bribed or these two are the die hard ones. Maybe the other three judges had indicated whom to bribe first before accepting the bribe to make the court decison a unanimous one. Whichever way it was folly and stupid . Folly and stupid in the sense that any judgement coming out of the court now , which is not acceptable to the opposition’s expectations will throw this country into a war never witnessed before. Bribery is an art. You dont take anyone for geanted.

Nchalo Ngabu
Nchalo Ngabu
8 months ago

Mumvera nzeru ziti? Za mbava mtambo kapena international Law professor? Inetu ndikuwona kuti professor Yi akulankhula zanzeru osati Zigawengazi!

jogoda
jogoda
8 months ago

the right to be head is imortant, secondly the acb needs to gather evidence first and if the evidence is weak it means the case will not proceed. this is the case as effecting arrest then failing to provide evidence will result the case being dismissed and the accused can sue and get millions. anyway izi nza ma laywers izi

Tiyeseni Phiri
Tiyeseni Phiri
8 months ago

There is great display of wisdom on Matemba’s part!

Zomba Karonga
8 months ago

The fact of the matter is that Matemba is a generous and knows his job. He will never be moved even an inch if he knows he is doing the right thing. Musiyeni agwire ntchito yomwe amadziwa!!!!

Dr. Mvuma
Dr. Mvuma
8 months ago

In opinion if there is suspicion of wrong doing , it is logical to correct it now than waiting until the wrong is done. I do not understand these Law guys. They seem to interest in the issue at play. Sure how can we, with five (5) senses see Car heading for a Fall into a deep ditch not tell the Driver to apply breaks before the Car Falls into the ditch. We the driver should fall into the ditch first and then we tell the Driver to apply breaks. This Danwood Chirwa guy is misleading Malawians. Get rid of… Read more »

Nchalo Ngabu
Nchalo Ngabu
8 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Mvuma

Ng’oooo! Kkkkkkk. Ufa ndi mtima uwona. Kkk.

Naluso
Naluso
8 months ago

This guy has been wrong on this case from the beginning. And when he is proved wrong amapanga change goal immediately. He must be the Peter Mutharika kind of Law Professor.

chimanga
8 months ago

The weakest arguments I have ever read from this professor. If the judges are busy, where did they get the time to report and why did the CJ act immediately? Justice delayed is justice denied. On individuals being accountable…..Why should individual bribe the court? What is their interest? It must be a party that they want to lead government. The individuals are clearly supporting a particular party. This conclusion does not need rocket science. on keeping the names to his chest….. Why is the ACB Director keeping ONLY these names? He has previously made press releases on suspects and named… Read more »

E-Soldier
E-Soldier
8 months ago

It is hard to prove individuals were acting on their own or own behalf a party or parties, so how did the DJ quickly determine they were acting as individuals??!! Your support for not revealing the names presupposes Mr. Matemba is not doing this under orders from Mutharika and DPP!! How certain are you that that is/is not the case? Those of us who have sent the DJ water-tight cases of corruption to investigate that have not been acted upon know Mr. Matemba better, you are only a man of letters.

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