Five days after the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) claimed it had information that the five judges who nullified the presidential election result received bribes, no evidence has been brought forth yet.
Some of the party’s senior officials, with Henry Mussa on top of the game on Monday when they petitioned the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Chief Justice through Blantyre City Council (BCC), claimed the party was ready to furnish ACB with information on bribery claims against the five judges.
But both the ACB and the Judiciary disclosed in separate interview that no evidence has been brought against justices Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Redson Kapindu, Dingiswayo Madise and Ivy Kamanga of the High Court, sitting as a Constitutional Court (ConCourt), who presided over the historic elections petition case.
ACB director general Reyneck Matemba, said in an interview on Saturday, that by close of business on Friday, the bureau had not received evidence from the DPP against the five judges, to prove that they received kickbacks from petitioners in the case to rule in their favour.
“We are still waiting. We haven’t received the information, may be we’ll receive it in due course, we heard they will bring it,” Matemba said.
On the other hand, registrar of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and High Court of Malawi, Agnes Patemba said, in an interview, that the Judiciary has also not received any proof to buttress the DPP claims that the five judges received bribes.
“All we have is the petition. We are going to respond to it in due course. As things are, there n
Patemba said on Wednesday. is nothing much we can say,”
But asked when the party was going to submit its evidence against the judges to the ACB, Mussa said everything was contained in their petition.
He said as citizens—with rights to demonstrate and express themselves—they said it was alleged the judges received bribes, adding that there was an issue they raised of a relationship between one of the petitioners, Saulos Chilima, who was reinstated by the court when it annulled the presidential election, and one of the judges, Dingiswayo Madise.
But put it to him that he emphatically said they had information that they received bribes from the petitioners and that they were ready to testify, Mussa said if they had such, it is not for public consumption.
Law expert Justin Dzonzi cautioned politicians to be sensitive and to avoid hiding in the name of freedom to demonstrate or freedom of expression, arguing that the matter at hand is sensitive, especially when there is also an appeal pending in the Supreme Court.
Dzonzi said bribery claims made against someone, in this case not ordinary citizens but High Court judges, could be serious and criminal if proved to be false.
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General has commended leaders of Malawi for adhering to the rule of law to address electoral issues emerging from the May 21 2019 elections, according to the UN resident coordinator Maria Jose Torres.
Torres said, in a response to a questionnaire: “In this sense the Constitutional Court ruling, the implementation of the directives of the court by the Parliament and any subsequent legal procedures that may be emerging continue to be a step in this direction.
“The peaceful manner in which political parties and the citizens of Malawi have followed court proceedings continues to set a record for this peace-loving nation on the respect for the governance institutions as well as for the 1994 Constitution.” She said the process of fresh elections is still work-in-progress at Parliament, in terms of legal framework.
“We appeal to the leaders of Malawi to address the political issues at stake and make decisions based on the long-term needs of the country while preserving peace, unity, human rights and rule of law.
“The UN is already engaged and ready to enhance its support to the institutions leading the implementation of the ConCourt’s determination in close coordination with the Government of Malawi, national stakeholders and development partners,” she said.
Torres declined to disclose whether her body is pumping funds for the fresh presidential election and how much, saying the UN was still engaging government and other stakeholders.
The DPP on Monday took to the streets in Blantyre for what it called ‘The March for the Restoration of Democratic Justice’.
Justifying the march later, Nicholas Dausi, who is also minister of Homeland Security, said by marching to present the petition and speaking out on the bribery claims, the party members were exercising their freedom of expression.
“When we say a free and open society, it means that people are able to express their opinion, which is a fundamental human right. They were exercising their rights,” he said.