BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-President Peter Mutharika pardon of the cashgate convict Esnart Ndovi this past week, stirred controversy over the legitimacy of the other arms of Government, including the judiciary, which is at the centre of fraud trials in the courts.
The comments come after some sections of society expressed concern over Mutharika’s decision to pardon Ndovi; they said this would send bad signals to would-be offenders.
The Judiciary is said to be helpless and gagged over President Mutharika decision to pardon Ndovi, as he is backed by the Republican Constitution.
Judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, told Malawi News that his office could not do anything regarding the President’s decision. He said President has the authority to make the pardon and his decision, must be respected.
“We are in a different arm of the Government. We mete out the sentence as the Judiciary and the President made the pardon as head of the Executive and we all derive powers from the same Republican Constitution. Therefore, we cannot question the President’s decision,” Mvula said.
Echoing on the same, Justice Link Executive Director, Justin Dzonzi, said that people should consider circumstances before arriving at conclusions.
“We should look at the circumstances that led to her pardoning. She was sentenced to three years in prison in 2015. She had already served two-fifth of her term and, therefore, she was due to be released in six months’ time. That is not insignificant,” Dzonzi said.
Ndovi is among the 378 inmates whom President Mutharika pardoned as part of Malawi’s 53rd Independence Celebrations.
This is an annual independence prerogative that empowers the head of state to pardon inmates, particularly those that have served three quarters of their sentences, and have a clean record while in prison.
Ndovi was convicted in November 2015, of charges of tendering a certificate for personation and money laundering involving MK12.9 million. She is one of the 47 prisoners pardoned at Maula prison, and was released two weeks ago. Her release date was supposed to be in February 2018.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, defended President Mutharika’s decision to pardon Ndovi on health grounds.