By Falles Kamanga
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-As the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) head, Martha Chizuma is, automatically, the lead investigator and prosecutor in key cases that the graft-fighting body is pursuing.
The understand, by law, is that Chizuma and the entire ACB will be impartial in how investigations and prosecutions are carried to ensure that, at the end of it all, justice is not just done but also seen to be done.
We know, for sure, that Chizuma is handling several cases at the bureau; however, it would not be an understatement to argue that that she has taken a special and unrivalled interest in the case involving Zuneth Sattar’s business partner Ashok Nair.
I am saying so because—if you carefully listen to that leaked audio which she confirmed it’s her voice—you will discover that the conversation was driven by her position on matters surrounding Ashok’s case.
Further, Chizuma made several predicament and emotional statements that, in all intents and purposes, revealed how frustrated she was with fighting corruption but all the matters she kept saying had a reference, direct or indirectly, of Ashok’s case.
For instance, because of the progress of Ashok’s cases, Chizuma rapped Malawi judiciary as corrupt specifically talking about her knowledge of a bribe accepted by a specific judge two days prior to attending a hearing before that judge.
Further, she talked the amount of money she believes has passed through the hands of a suspect the Bureau recently arrested.
Not only that.
She even went further, because of Ashok’s case, to blame the entire Head of State of not supporting her.
Not one, not two, not even three but several legal minds weighed in on her scandal and, in their varying interpretations, came to a conclusion that Chizuma acted unprofessionally.
Some lawyers have ably concluded that she has successfully breached her Oath of Office; others argued that she has compromised the credibility of the Bureau and the security of its investigations; while some said she violated the same Corrupt Practices Act she was appointed to enforce. In fact, there was even agreement within the legal fraternity she has defamed the judge of an independent court.
These voices from the legal fraternity cannot be ignored; they need to be listened.
That is why, in sending a stern warning to her, President Chakwera agreed with the voices from the legal fraternity justifying Chizuma’s removal as Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau on the grounds of misconduct in terms of Section 6B (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act, 2019.
So we agree here that Chizuma’s statements in that leaked audio contains sufficient grounds of misconduct in terms of Section 6B (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act, 2019.
We also agree that whatever she was saying in that audio was being made in reference to Ashok’s case—which is handling.
With all what she said in reference to Ashok’s case, do we really, if left to handle the case, believe that she will be impartial in executing her prosecutorial duties in this case?
As already said, the law demands that Chizuma exercises impartiality in handling all the matters ACB is managing to ensure that, at the end of it all, justice is not just done but also seen to be done.
In Ashok’s case, it is troubling to even to begin to believe that Chizuma will act impartially.
She is compromised. In the interest of justice and also the integrity of ACB, she must rescue herself.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author or not necessarily of The Maravi Post or Editor