The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that a section in Anti-Corruption Bureau’s (ACB) Corrupt Practices Act (CPA), which Humphrey Mvula and Friday Jumbe were challenging and wanted declared unconstitutional, is constitutional.
ACB in 2005 took Mvula and Jumbe to court on separate cases and charged them with misuse [abuse of office] contrary to CPA.
The two argued the section in CPA which ACB used to charge them eroded their right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, according to Section 42(2) (f) (iii) of the Constitution.
The two sought judicial review on the constitutionality of the subsection which was heard under High Court Constitutional Cases No.1 and 2 0f 2005. The Constitutional Court ruled that the subsection was unconstitutional.
The Constitutional Court’s decision forced ACB, through Attorney General (AG), to file an appeal at the Supreme Court.
On March 24 this year, according to a statement from ACB, the Supreme Court in Blantyre ruled against the decision of the Constitutional Court.
The Supreme Court held that Section 25 B (3) of the CPA is a justifiable restriction on the right to be presumed innocent and, therefore, valid under the Constitution.
Reads ACB’s statement: “The judgment, therefore, means that the bureau can continue with the cases against the two.”
Mvula, a chief executive officer at the liquidated Shire Bus Lines, had earlier argued that he was not a public officer and that the company was a private entity as it was registered under the Companies Act.