Youth and Society (YAS) executive director, Charles Kajoloweka, has said he is delighted with the launch of investigations into the suspected professional misconduct by Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale and the illegal payment he allegedly received from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
YAS, a Mzuzu-based human rights and governance watchdog, had initially written the Office of the Ombudsman, laying a complaint against Kaphale on his professional conduct as a public officer in relation to the retention of South African lawyers and the attendant expense on public money.
Through a letter dated 14th April 2020, the organization also alleges that the AG got illegal payment from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for representing it in the high profile Presidential Elections case at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).
“The relevant background to the complaint below is that in February 2020 the High Court disqualified the Attorney General from acting for the Electoral Commission as Attorney-General in Constitutional Reference No 1 of 2019 – Chilima & Chakwera v Mutharika & Electoral Commission because he abandoned his proper role as Attorney-General and embarked on a partisan escapade while still donning the cloak of his office as A-G.
“While so disqualified, he appears to have acted on behalf of Electoral Commission or was involved in procuring the services of lawyers from South Africa on public expense,” the letter reads in part.
Kajoloweka stated in the letter that given Kaphale’s disqualification by the ConCourt, it was imperative that the Ombudsman should probe whether the AG was justified if at all and in what manner it is possibly regular and proper for him to have continued acting for EC in the procurement of legal services.
“In his letter to the CEO for Umodzi Hotel Ltd, he suggests that he only received affirmation from the Director of Public Procurement that the procurement protocols for the South African Lawyers had been completed and successful on 10th March 2020.
“On the other hand, he states that the lawyers had since already arrived in the country two days prior, on 8th March 2020, which means before he had affirmative clearance for the procurement and before a contract was settled. Hon. Ombudsman, would you kindly probe whether and how this is regular and in compliance with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Asset Act,” urged Kajolowed.
“We respectfully invite your office to investigate the matters and provide relevant remedies in the interest of the public,” he added.
And in her letter to YAS on 18th April 2020, Chizuma assured that her office would take up the matter, which they have since done.
Kajoloweka, who was reacting to the development on Thursday, hailed the Ombudsman for acting on their complaint.
“We are very grateful to the Ombudsman for heeding our call to institute investigations against the AG. We are very confident that, with her office taking up the matter, relevant remedies will be provided to the citizens, if there was some misconduct,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :