Police hunt for Katopola, Wadi to be new COP

After  President Joyce Banda has reportedly rejected the recent recommendation by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to fire Matilda Katopola as Clerk of Parliament on grounds that procedures were not followed, police are working under instructions from some senior government officials to arrest her.

Police officers led by one called Norman called Katopola on her mobile phone  several times on Thursday and later sent her a text message when she did not pick her phone asking to meet up to effect arrests.

The police officers, using a red Carina vehicle was spotted in Lilongwe at various places including the residential area of Katopola. She was not at her property.

Katopola: Mist over her future

Arrest plot

The plot by the police takes the format top government lawyer  uses when he wants to arrest people. He would call one to a hotel or any place only to find himself in the hands of police.

The lawyer used the same plan to arrest opposition DPP official Christopher Ngwira two weeks ago. Ngwira was invited  to a hotel in Mzuzu and when he arrived there police arrested him.

Norman’s message sent to Katopola on Thursday afternoon reads: “Madam, I have been trying calling u throughout this afternoon but you are not picking up the phone. There is need for an evidence of arrest statement. Please  anytime today at any place of your choice.Let meet.”

Another message reads: “Am still trying but she is not picking up the phone. At all cost she needs to reply to the evidence of arrest. Again tomorrow  at 1400 hrs there is plea taking at the court.”

The police are using phone numbers : 0888 871 310, 0994447555 and 0995667690.

Witch-hunting

Sources close to Katopola, who is Malawi’s first female Clerk of Parliament, told Nyasa Times that the COP is now leaving in fear because she believes the police are being sent by a senior officer in government to torture her.

Vice president Khumbo Kachali and chief secretary to government Bright Msaka are reported to have told  Katopola that the current government does not want her because she would not serve it well. This was according to leaked minutes of the Parliamentary Service Commission.

Katopola responded by demanding her benefits up to retirement age in 2030 when she will have turned 60. In total she expects to get over K900 million (about $3.6 million). She is due for retirement in 2030 when she will be 60.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and other watchdogs  accused the Banda administration of making political decisions that are costly to the nation and described Katopola’s issue as witch-hunting.

Katopola is yet to respond to government’s lift of the compulsory leave.

She is currently in police bail as she  was charged based on a 2008 case in which she was accused of misprocurement of colour printing services for the National Assembly’s Strategic Plan at the cost of K86 997 (about $348).

Meanwhile former  Director of Public Prosecutions Ishmael Wadi was given an appointment letter as new COP and it was quickly withheld after realising some “legal pitfalls” in removing Katopola.

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