Govt withdraws its appeal against High court ruling over Chizuma’s interdiction case

By Chisomo Phiri

Malawi Government on Monday February 12,2023 moved on to withdraw its appeal against the High Court ruling over the interdiction of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma

Chancy Gondwe, one of the private-practice lawyers appointed by the Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirend told local media in an interview that they initially went for an adjournment, but Justice John Katsala declined on grounds that the interdiction of Chizuma being the basis of the matter was lifted.

He said the court admitted that the issue was stale and there was no need to continue wasting court’s resources on that.

Chancy Gondwe

Gondwe went on to say that the government side later applied for withdrawal of the matter and lawyers representing Malawi Law Society (MLS), Patrick Mpaka and Chrispin Ngunde, did not object.

“The court proceeded and withdrew the case,” said Gondwe.

After the withdrawal, MLS asked the court to award them costs of the case but he (Gondwe) objected to arguing that lawyers on both sides, MLS and government, were acting pro bono (for free).

He said the court agreed with him, and declined to make any order on costs.

On his part, Lawyer Mpaka said in an interview that what the withdrawal meant that there is no case in the Supreme Court where the State wanted to appeal after its application for the “urgent application” was rejected by High Court judge Mike Tembo.

Chizuma was facing an imminent arrest for defamation over her leaked audio.

In the audio, the ACB Director General alleged that a member of the Judiciary and several lawyers had received bribes to release on bail a suspect.

She also made serious allegations against President Lazarus Chakwera who she claimed was not supporting her fight against corruption.

Her allegations drew the ire of the President who claimed to come close and chop her head.

In a broadcasted message, Chakwera revealed that he had put the Chizuma up for disciplinary hearing to decide her fate.

But in the process of the case hearing, the newly appointed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Masauko Chamkakala announced that his office had made a decision to withdraw all criminal defamation charges Chizuma was facing which were laid before Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court.