Anti-Corruption Bureau Chief in Malawi Cleared by Court: Supreme Court Dismisses Application Against Martha Chizuma

Martha Chizuma, the director general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Malawi, has had an application filed against her by Frighton Phompho, a private citizen, dismissed by the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal. The case is related to allegations that Chizuma violated the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) by revealing information about a UK-based businessperson, Zunneth Sattar, who is under investigation over corruption, in a leaked audio in January 2022.

In April 2022, the Magistrate Court in Mzuzu ordered the Malawi Police Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate the leaked audio. However, Chizuma sought a review in the High Court in Mzuzu of the decision by the lower court, and the High Court granted a stay order, a ruling which did not please Phompho.

In her ruling on Thursday, Judge nyaKaunda Kamanga stated that she carefully considered the issues raised by the legal practitioner for Phompho, Michael Goba Chipeta, and found that the relief of the stay order sought could not be granted ex-parte in law. Chipeta raised an issue that he had summons to appear before the Malawi Law Society disciplinary committee regarding his conduct in the Chizuma-Phompho case and the due date for appearance was January 13, 2023.

The Judge said: “The long and short of it is that Counsel Chipeta cannot seek this type of relief in the name of the Applicant when the alleged injustice concerns himself and when he is not a party to the proceedings… the application is declined on the ground that granting the relief would not uphold the principle of stay pending appeal in criminal review proceedings…”