Malawi

Malawi high court judge on anti-graft unit’s powers

In a major new decision, the high court in Malawi has clarified a number of issues critical to the country’s criminal justice system. The decision comes in the wake of attempts by a former cabinet minister, Kezzie Msukwa, dismissed because of corruption charges against him, to challenge the basis on which investigations into his alleged wrong-doing were carried out.

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The arrest of Malawi’s former minister for lands, Kezzie Msukwa, on corruption charges at the end of December 2021, could hardly have been more dramatic: He was stopped and arrested outside the hospital where he had gone for treatment for hypertension and blood pressure that was ‘out of control’. The arresting officers then handcuffed him

Court chides counsel for ‘scurrilous allegation’ against newly-appointed judge

Counsel for a former presidential adviser on strategy, charged under Malawi’s anti-corruption laws, has come in for a tongue-lashing over the argument he put up in a judicial review application. During the course of the corruption trial so far, the presiding magistrate, Patrick Chirwa (pictured), was appointed as a judge of the high court. Counsel for Chris Banda, the accused, wanted a different magistrate to take over the corruption trial, but the magistrate, now a judge, said he would continue hearing the matter to completion.

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When Lilongwe chief resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa was appointed to the high court bench, he could never have imagined the stir he was about to make in legal circles because of his decision to finish hearing an important matter in the magistrate’s court.

Judges recall when their lives were threatened during contentious legal challenge in Malawi

Two participants at a human rights training course for judges from 11 African countries, held in Cape Town mid-May, have first-hand experience of what making a bold human rights decision may sometimes demand. Judges Michael Tembo and Redson Kapindu were both on the bench, part of a five-judge panel in what they say was, without doubt, the most significant case in Malawi’s history.

Judges Redson Kapindu (who helped present the human rights training course) and Mike Tembo, are both members of Malawi’s high court, and were part of the five-member bench that heard a most significant case.

Following presidential elections in May 2019, they had to decide a challenge to the poll’s validity, litigation that raised the political temperature in Malawi to boiling point.

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