Malawi Law Society proposal for independent prosecutors quashed: Kasambara says pointless

A proposal by the Malawi Law Society (MLS) for the country to abolish the use of police prosecutors and establish an independent prosecution body  such as South Africa’s National Prosecution Authority has been quashed , with Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ralph Kasambara  describing it as unrealistic.

MLS president John Gift Mwakhwawa made the proposal recently during the presentation of a report on the rule of law in Malawi, ‘The Road to Recovery’, by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) in Lilongwe.

Mwakhwawa argued that police prosecutors “lack capacity” as they require serious professionalism, supervision and training in terms of prosecution.

Kasambara: Its not applicable

But Kasambara said  the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) already spearheads prosecution in the country.

“This proposal is uncalled for and it is not applicable as far as prosecution stands in the country because if there is a case to be taken to court, police provide a prosecutor who is answerable to the DPP,” Kasambara is quoted by official Malawi News Agency.

“On the other hand if the MLS is saying that the prosecution team should be reporting to the Ministry of Home Affairs, that’s another area of conflict because there is no way the whole prosecution team could be headed by the Home Affairs Ministry as it is already headed by an independent body,” explained Kasambara.

But MLS president further argues that the body can  employ some of the police prosecutors, train them and detach them from the Executive.

“All we want is Government to appoint an Independent body which will be responsible for all prosecution services such as Ministry of Home Affairs. Actually, we will not be the first country to practice this system as a lot of countries are practicing the same such as South Africa,” Makhwawa is quoted saying.

“In so doing we are to improve justice levels in the country and we will strive towards achieving more professional prosecution services because if you are to see how the current prosecutors provide their service you can bear with me that they are incompetent.”

He said the law body wants to make the judicial system “strive towards professionalism and competence.”

National Police spokesperson Davie Chingwalu, while acknowledging that the proposal is good,  said coming up with an independent prosecutions body boils down to capacity.

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