MLS wins Chizuma interdiction case

The High Court of Malawi has ruled that secretary to the Office of President and Cabinet erred in law to fire Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director Martha Chizuma.
High Court Judge Mike Tembo said the ACB director can only be fired by the State President.

Lawyer Chancy Gondwe
He was ruling in a judicial review case in which the Malawi Law Society (MLS) took the government to court regarding the interdiction of Chizuma over a leaked audio.
Tembo, in his judgement, agreed with the MLS that the power to suspend or interdict the ACB boss was vested in the President of the Republic of Malawi and is exercisable only in the public interest.
“It was, therefore, unlawful that the 3rd defendant [Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba], being a person other than the President, sought to suspend the director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau from performing the functions of the office of director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
“The decision of the 3rd defendant interdicting or suspending the director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau from performing functions of the office of director of Anti-Corruption Bureau is, therefore, null and void for illegality due to overstepping of authority since the 3rd defendant had no authority whatsoever to suspend [her],” Tembo said.
The court proceeded to grant reliefs sought by MLS and they included, a declaration that the director of the bureau is immune from any civil or criminal proceedings in respect of any act or thing done or omitted to be done unless bad faith in respect of such act or thing is alleged, a declaration that the decision of the SPC made on January 31 2023, to issue the interdiction order against her without any express directive from the President was unconstitutional and amounts to impairment of the immunity clause.
In the case, a Lilongwe-based police prosecutor Levison Mangani was the 1st defendant, Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe 2nd defendant, with the SPC as the third defendant.
Private practice lawyer Chancy Gondwe, who represented the three, wanted the case dismissed on arguments that it was purely academic as the interdiction order was already lifted.

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