Police say they have launched an investigation into allegations that Justice of Appeal Healey Potani assaulted a Police Mobile Service officer assigned to provide security at his residence in Chinyonga, Blantyre.
In a written response on Tuesday, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said police received a complaint of the alleged assault and have since opened the probe. He identified the complainant as Sergeant Emmanuel Sinda.
He said: “Sergeant Sinda was on duty at Justice Potani’s house. It is alleged that he was assaulted by the judge. The matter has come to the attention of police management and follow up is being made. Proper measures will be taken.”
The probe comes against a background of an audio clip that went viral on Monday in which Sinda, stationed at Police Mobile Service B Division at Kanjedza in Blantyre, claimed that Potani assaulted him while on duty at his house.
In the audio clip, Sinda claims that the judge used vulgar language against him after Potani reportedly spotted him sitting outside the guardroom.
Said the officer: “I tried to explain to him [Potani] that the room was being cleaned at the time, but he did not buy any of that and came out of his car and started slapping me. He beat me in the stomach, head as I was close to him. I could not hit back. I just escaped.”
Efforts to speak to Potani and the High Court of Malawi and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal registrar Gladys Gondwe proved futile on Tuesday as their mobile phones went unanswered on several attempts.
Potani was the judge president of the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court, other members were Redson Kapindu, Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo and Dingiswayo Madise that delivered the historic judgement nullifying the May 21 2019 presidential election. The court ordered a fresh presidential election within 150 days of the ruling.
President Lazarus Chakwera, who won the fresh presidential election held on June 23 2020, on October 26 promoted Potani from High Court judge to Justice of Appeal in the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.