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In Malawi, the Director of Public Prosecution is Summoned by the Legal Affairs Committee


In Malawi, controversy continues to swirl around the corruption scandal that implicated former president Bakili Muluzi. The charges were quickly dropped and the director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Gustave Kaliwo, was suspended. This week, the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee invited the director of public prosecution (DPP), Ishmael Wadi, to explain why the charges against Muluzi were dismissed; he will appear before the committee within fourteen days. Initially, Wadi consented to the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s request to prosecute the former president, but six hours later he announced on national television and radio that the charges would be dropped. Some analysts say the DPP needs to explain the action to Malawians. Last week, Wadi said he and the ACB officials had reached a mutual agreement to discontinue the case because there was no ACB director to pursue the charges. The committee, chaired by Atopele Muluzi, released a statement expressing surprise at the sudden turnaround. Chairman Muluzi discussed the situation with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey.

“It is correct that the director of public prosecution has to appear before the Legal Affairs Committee, National Assembly. In fact our Constitution [outlines] for the director of public prosecution, when he discontinues a case he has to provide the reasons for that discontinuance to the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly within 10 days. Now, this is usually normal; the director of public prosecution usually appears before the committee to give reasons when he exercises that authority. So there is really nothing special about this particular case. But he will definitely have to appear before the committee to give the reasons as to why he made his decision to discontinue the case against the former president.”

Chairman Muluzi said the Legal Affairs Committee will compose an account of the DPP’s statements and circulate it to the National Assembly.

“…When the DPP appears before us, we will then submit a report to the National Assembly for consideration. Obviously, as you are aware, the committee comprises members from different political parties so they will be interested to find out as to what some of the reasons behind this particular discontinuance in this particular case.”

Muluzi said the process was proceeding as usual and there was no abnormality in the amount of time between when the charges were dropped and the DPP’s appearance.

“The DPP does not necessarily appear before the committee within 10 days, but he has to submit the reasons within ten days. We have actually asked for the appearance and he will be appearing before us in the next 14 days. That is really quite normal, so he will definitely be coming to appear in quite a reasonable time, I foresee within the next ten days from now.”

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