The Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) have penned the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), calling for urgent and independent inquiry into the alleged attempts by some prominent figures to bribe judges in the Malawi election case.
A statement released by the international non-profit-making organisation dated January 14 joins the voices of the Malawi Law Society (MLS) and local civil society organisations which earlier in the week urged ACB on the same.
“CLA urges that a full and independent enquiry into the allegations of bribery of Judges takes place and notes the importance to the Rule of Law of the independence of the Judiciary and the legal profession as described in section 4 of the Latimer House Principles,” reads the statement.
Since the allegation that some top figures in Malawi attempted to bribe judges in the election case came to light over the weekend, there has been an uproar from various sectors urging the ACB to expedite the case.
On Tuesday the graft busting body held a press conference in Lilongwe, confirming the allegations and said that investigations were underway.
ACB Director, Reyneck Matemba, confirmed to the local media that the country’s Chief Justice, Andrew Nyirenda, had written the bureau, alleging that some prominent figures had approached two judges with a bribe to influence the election case judgment expected in February.
But Matemba refused to reveal the names of the alleged prominent figures and the judges who were approached.
“For legal reasons I can not reveal the names but I can reveal that one is a senior person in one of the three arms of government while the other is a renowned business person — that’s how far I can go,” said Matemba.
The ACB chief has since assured the public that the Bureau will handle the case with the urgency it deserves.
Malawians are awaiting judgment in the high profile case in which opposition leaders Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima are challenging the legitimacy of President Peter Mutharika’s victory in the May presidential elections.
The country’s constitutional court heard the case from August to December and judgment is due in February. Enditem