Malawi’s Law Society (MLS) is accusing the government of President Bingu Wa Mutharika for violating the country’s procurement act by hiring a foreign attorney to prosecute Vice President Cassim Chilumpha’s treason case. This comes after the government hired a British attorney to lead the prosecution against the vice president, contrary to what the MLS says are laid down procedures.
Mavuto Hara is the President of the Malawi Law society. He said the government failed to adhere to the Public Procurement Act of Malawi.
“What we are saying is that the government did not comply with the Public Procurement Act. The act has prescribed method for procuring services…that didn’t happen in this case…by the time attempt was being made to have the British lawyer admitted to practice for purposes of appearing in this treason case, the solicitor general or the attorney general had taken no stake to comply with the public procurement act,” he said.
Hara said the Law society has reasons to question the rational behind what he said is an illegal act by the government.
“The law society has two important responsibilities among others. The first one is to protect the interest of lawyers in this country. The second one is to assist the public with respect to matters of law and matters of ancillary support. For it is in the public interest that the government should comply with the public procurement act,” Hara noted.
He said the purpose of the public procurement act is to ensure accountability and transparency in government business.
“It is an act that is designed to ensure accountability in public resources to avoid abuse, favoritism, nepotism, fraud and corruption and all the evil associated with the management of public resources. So for those two reasons, we have a responsibility to blow the whistle when the act is not being adhered to,” he said.
Hara said it is the duty of the law society to protest against any act, which is contrary to the laws in the country.
“We raised an objection to the admission of a British lawyer, effectively, what we are saying is the court must not assist the executive branch of the government to complete a transaction that is an illegality. We could also apply to court for a judicial review of the decision of the government to recruit the British lawyer,” the said.