President Peter Mutharika has said the rising perception of high corruption in the judiciary overshadow the integrity of the country’s justice delivery system.
Mutharika, speaking at the swearing-in of three new judges to the High Court bench, said the job of the judges is to judge the corruption of others.
He said there is a lot of work to do to restore public trust in the Judiciary.
“I believe in the work of the judiciary myself and I will always support the Judiciary in its efforts to restore public trust,” said Mutharika.
The President pointed out that judiciary is one of the three arms of government and that as a Head of State, he will always respect the independence of the Judiciary in Malawi.
“But let it be clear that in any country in the world, the independence of the Judiciary does not mean that the Judiciary is a government in itself.
“The Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature are supposed to work together for the prosperity of Malawians,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika, a law professor who spent most of his time abroad where he also served a Magistrate in Tanzania, said independence of the Judiciary only means that the Judiciary is allowed to judge cases without interference from the other arms of government.
“But it does not mean that the Judiciary should not be accountable to anyone. So for the Judiciary to enjoy your independence, you also need to exercise strong accountability,” he said.
The Malawi leader said the judiciary needs a strong internal integrity mechanism that enforces ethical conduct and high discipline among judges and magistrates without bias.
He asked the new judges to uphold the rule of Law, be impartial, ethical and disciplined.
“As a generation of justices, it is your collective responsibility and legacy to correct the image of the judiciary. Your duty as judges is to restore public trust. Remember that Malawians have a lot to expect from you,” said Mutharika.
The President said that Malawians expect the judiciary to be a place of “unquestionably high integrity and professionalism.”
He said: “I always find my inspiration from the Bible. In 2 Chronicles, Chapter 19, verses 6 and 7, the Bible says; ‘Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.’
“And in verse 9, the Bible says: ‘He gave them these orders: ‘You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the Lord’.”
Mutharika said he expects the judges to administer justice with fairness and impartiality.
“Malawians expect the judiciary to be transparent. They expect judges to be accountable at all times,” he said.
President Mutharika said in any good governance, everyone must be accountable to someone else and only God to be accountable to no-one.
“The judiciary should be the moral and legal campus of society. This is so because your job is to judge the wrong doings of others,” he said.
Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, who attended the ceremony, is on record to have confessed that just as it is with every other sector, corruption exists in the Judiciary .
Lilongwe-based High Court Judge Charles Mkandawire is also on record to have admitted that corruption exists in the Judiciary.
“We in the Malawi Judiciary have accepted that corruption does exist in the Judiciary. We do not want to leave in a fools’ paradise where we become so defensive about judicial corruption,” he said.
Mkandawire said it is because of this realisation that the Chief Justice had decided to establish the Judicial Integrity Committee chaired by a High Court judge.
“This committee does sensitise judicial officers and staff on the evils of corruption in the judiciary. It investigates complaints of corruption in the judiciary and makes recommendations to the Judicial Service Commission which may even lead to prosecution,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :