The High Court in Zomba has ordered the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to compensate Blantyre-based lawyer Joseph Kamkwasi for unlawful arrest.
Kamkwasi was arrested by the ACB in May when the bureau obtained a warrant of arrest from the Chief Resident Magistrateâ€™s Court in Lilongwe.
The lawyer was arrested on allegations that he defrauded a client of compensation money in circumstances where corruption was suspected.
The warrant of arrest was made under provisions of the Corrupt Practices Act.
But the lawyer contended that the issuance of the warrant of arrest was irregular and unlawful because the affidavit in support of the application disclosed an offence under the Penal Code.Â Â Â
In his ruling last week, Judge Godfrey Mwase faulted ACB and the Chief Resident Magistrateâ€™s Court in Lilongwe, saying they failed to consider the constitutional rights of the lawyer; hence, their decision was unreasonable.
â€œHaving gone through the way through which the warrant of arrest was issued, it is my considered opinion that the respondents [ACB and the Chief Resident Magistrateâ€™s Court in Lilongwe] failed to direct their minds properly to the applicable law.
â€œIt was incumbent to the respondents to be judicious in their choice of the applicable law because public authorities have a constitutional obligation to ensure that they do not violate human rights of people affected by their decisions. As such, the respondentsâ€™ decision was unlawful by reason of being unreasonable and ultra vires,â€ said Mwase.
The judge then quashed the decision of the Chief Resident Magistrateâ€™s Court to issue a warrant of arrest.
Â He also granted several reliefs sought by Kamkwasi, including damages for false imprisonment which shall be assessed by the Registrar of the High Court.
In May, the court suspended the prosecution of Kamkwasi based on the quashed warrant.