High Court of Malawi Judge, Honourable Justice Fiona Mwale has recused herself from handling a murder case involving Mohammed Shanin Iqbar Juma over bribery allegations that involves her.
In her recusal ruling made in open court on April 15, 2021, Justice Mwale says she has been handling this matter in which the accused, Mohammed Shanin Iqbar Juma “stands charged with the offence of murder contrary to section 209 of the Penal Code” in which “he is alleged to have caused the death of his wife Zaheera Juma with malice aforethought on or about the 19th day of December 2019 at Area 9 in Lilongwe District”.
“He pleaded not guilty to the offence [and Iqbar Juma] has made several bail applications which have been denied and remains remanded in custody to this day.
“The accused was found with a case to answer on 7th July 2020. Thereafter, an application was made by counsel for the accused person asking the Court to revisit the finding on a case to answer.
“However, the ruling of this Court stands and the application was dismissed. The case is now at the defence stage.”
Justice Mwale then disclosed that on on April 15th, 2021, during the defendant’s testimony in his defence, he testified to the effect that his father-in-law, Jamal Akbanie “on Wednesday 9th June (presumably 2020)” posted a message on a family WhatsApp social media group — with membership within and beyond Malawi — “amongst other issues, that the Khatrii community had organised between K20-K25 million to bribe the judge in the matter”.
“It was a rallying call for members of his community to turn up at the court in solidarity against the release of the accused,” says Justice Mwale in her recusal ruling. “An audio recording of the said Jamal Akbanie making this broadcast was played in court.
“As a judicial officer, who has sworn to uphold the law and protect the Constitution, I must abide by the sacred principle that ‘justice must not only be done, it must also be seen as being done.
“The accusation, though untrue, has been brought into the public domain at this point. Any credible action taken in response to the accusation by the authorities (should the need arise) cannot proceed while I am handling the matter.
“After careful reflection, with the utmost, regret in view of the advanced stage to which this manner has progressed, I have decided to recuse myself.
“My recusal shall pave the way for justice to be seen as being done, with the case being presided over by a judicial officer who has no cloud of wrongful allegation hanging over his or her head.
“I also reserve the right, as an aggrieved person, to protect my reputation through the civil courts. This matter is adjourned sine die, pending reallocation of the matter to another judge.
“I so order,” Justice Mwale said in open court attended, amongst others, by Director of Public Prosecution Dr. Kayuni as counsel for the State and Mr. Kaonga — counsel for the accused.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :