Wapona invokes right to remain silent at ACB

Lawyer Wapona Kita, representing critic of Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika, former Attorney General Ralph Kasambara, on Monday appeared before the graft bursting body, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Blantyre.

ACB boss Alexious Nampota summoned Kita and his workmate at Ralph and Arnolds law firm, Jonathan Kara, to explain how they managed to get Kasambara court bail while judiciary staff are on strike.

Kita had travelled 360 kilometres from administrative capital, Lilongwe to Blantyre to the ACB offices.

He told Nyasa Timesthat he evoked his constitutional right to remain silent when he faced chief investigator of the case Herbert Piliminta, who was accompanied by another investigator and a Prosecutor.

ACB want answers, gets silence from Wapona

“They wanted to take a witness statement regarding the role I played in the court granting bail to Kasambara,”Kita said in an interview with Nyasa Times.

“I declined to answer the questions, relying on Section 51 of the Corrupt Practices Act which does not allow a lawyer to disclose to the ACB regarding how he handled a matter on behalf of a client,” the lawyer said.

“ The rationale of this section is to allow people have trust and confidence in lawyers, in that whatever they disclose to their lawyers in confidence will not be subject to disclosure to law enforcement officers,” explained Kita.

“They kept asking questions but I kept telling them that I invoke Section 51. They respected my decision and I was allowed to go,” Kita said.

The lawyers were summoned after Blantyre Principle Resident Magistrate Innocent Nebi released Kasambara on bail despite the on-going court strike. The striking workers temporarily suspended the strike to facilitate the bail application because lawyers previously demonstrated in support of the strike.

ACB boss Nampota accused Kasambara of corrupting judges and magistrates, hence the summoning of the lawyers.

Kasambara, a lawyer, politician and human rights activists has been a stern critic of President Mutharika, whom he served as his first Attorney General.

He was arrested after capturing regime thugs he claimed confessed were sent to petrol-bomb his law firm in Blantyre. Police arrested him instead when presented the confessed thugs. The police accused Kasambara for taking the law into his own hands by manhandling the suspected arsonists.

His arrest comes days after he published interviews in the press calling for the resignation or impeachment of President Mutharika.

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