The African Law Service brings diverse commentary on legal developments from across our African continent.
When Malawi was gripped by a maize shortage scare a few years ago the government arranged to buy more from Zambia. But allegations of corruption soon followed against George Chaponda, then minister responsible for agriculture, as well as other officials in Malawi and in Zambia.
So great was the public outcry that a presidential commission of inquiry was established to investigate.
For a year following a breach of cyber security at Uganda’s Crane Bank, staffer Shakil Pathan Ismail was drawn into the investigation. After his password and that of another member of staff were used in an electronic hacking fraud during August 2015, the investigators put his salary on hold, promising that it would be “reinstated” once the police inquiries were completed. But this never happened.
The two Namibian high court judges who heard the appeal by drug-accused Paul Umub did not mince their words. Upholding his 10-year sentence they said: “The courts must step in and impose severe sentences, never heard of before, as we are losing the battle against drug abuse. … The sentences … imposed must be so severe to deter the appellant and would-be offenders from committing such offences.”
The judiciary in Zimbabwe is not enjoying a particularly good international reputation at the moment. News of bail applications routinely refused, of mass trials and sham prosecutions – all have raised questions about the quality of justice being dispensed in that country during the current crackdown on opposition activists.
Just one sentence into the judgment, and you know this is a legal scandal of significant proportions: Judges Thembekile Malusi and Mbulelo Jolwana said the “misconduct which culminated in this review, to the best of our knowledge, is unprecedented in the annals of the judiciary in this country. We hope it will never be repeated by any judicial officer.”
Read the Rules on TanzLII
Court rules are often pretty boring to outsiders. Usually they are only of interest to lawyers who must obey them to the letter so they don’t get into trouble and make a mistake about filing deadlines, for example.
As part of Ghana’s 60th anniversary celebrations in 2017, the president, Nana Akufo-Addo, turned the first sod for a major national symbolic structure – the Ghana National Cathedral. To be funded by individuals and organisations within the Christian community, the cathedral is said by the government to be a priority project. But it is not without its critics.
At the heart of this case stands a forlorn, would-be advocate. Ugandan Tony Katungi is keen to join the profession but he found that the Law Council put obstacles in his way, delaying access to the profession and making it more difficult and more expensive.
For a country with a dedicated Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) as well as legislation and regulations to go along with it, Namibia is having a singularly difficult time prosecuting major corruption.