The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has faulted Nsanje District Agriculture Development Office for withdrawing an alleged theft case of farm inputs worth K2.4 in Nsanje involving Mpatsa Agriculture Extension Development Officer (AEDO) and businessman.
The committee’s Chairperson Dr. Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the agriculture officials have no powers to withdraw the case as it is criminal in nature.
Chidanti while emphasizing that he is not a lawyer, he however said if the police brings a case before court, no person can come and withdraw it apart from the police itself.
“I have never heard anything like that. Usually when you have a case like this, that someone has been taken to court by the police, it becomes a state VS the person who has been taken to court. Therefore, if there is someone who has to withdraw this case is the state. In this case the police. This is very bizarre and peculiar,” said Chidanti adding that as committee is very disappointed with that.
He continued to assure the concerned people that as a committee cannot accept that to take place and will investigate the matter in order to find out on what happened.
“The items stolen were meant for poor people under which our committee is directly responsible, therefore, I am taking up the matter. I am going to call the District Commissioner and the DADO to get the bottom of the matter and start investigations,” said Chidanti.
Private practicing Lawyer Wesley Namasala concurs with the parliamentary committee chairperson saying technically it is only the state that has powers to withdraw cases in court.
District Agriculture Development Officer Patrick Msiyambiri in an interview last week said they followed right procedures to have the case withdrawn from the court claiming it is provided for in the criminal procedure and evidence code.
Msiyambiri said the case was withdrawn to save second accused Godfrey Mukhondiya’s job.
The Nsanje DADO confirmed ordering Mukhondiya and businessman Thoko Chitowe to pay back the alleged stolen items by end September this year despite claims that their officer is innocent.
He was arrested along with the prime suspect in the case Thoko Chitowe businessman last month, following the missing of assorted farm inputs in a government warehouse at Mpatsa Agriculture Extension Planning Area.
Aged 33, Godfrey Mukhondiya hails from Katutula village in the area of Traditional Authority Mwaulambya in Chitipa district where as Thoko Chitowe 29, is said to be a resident of Chikunkhu under the area of Senior Chief Tengani in NsanjeFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :