Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda on Friday confessed that just as it is with every other sector, the Judiciary is not spared from corrupt elements.
Speaking during Sherry party in Blantyre, Nyirenda said time for pretence was over, as such there is need to put in place measures to deal with the scourge.
He said acknowledging the existence of the vice was a starting point for vigilance and to take decisive steps to eradicate it and ensure that judicial integrity and its effectiveness in the administration of justice are not violated.
“It’s no use pretending… As Judiciary it will be foolhardy to pretend that we do not have incidents of corruption. We really cannot sit back and think nothing is happening at the institution,” said Nyirenda.
The Chief Justice said even a perception of corruption in the Judiciary was a sliding slope to loss of acclaim and public trust.
“Surely, we must be concerned about corruption in the Judiciary. We must acknowledge that corruption has become a present danger that can easily overshadow the integrity of our Judiciary,” he said.
As part of dealing with the problem, the Judiciary through its Institutional Integrity Committee in collaboration with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) launched a corruption and fraud prevention policy in November 2016.
Over the years, judicial officers and support staff have been convicted of corruption and Nyirenda hopes the intervention will assist in preventing and rooting out corruption from the institution.
On his part, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu urged the Judiciary to seriously look at the issue of corruption.
He said the Judiciary was a pillar in the fight against corruption which called for judicial officers to consider what the country’s laws say about corruption.
Malawi Law Society (MLS) vice-president Tadala Chinkwezule said the society was concerned about corruption, whether perceived or real, in the Judiciary which has resulted in lack of merit based judgements.
“It is disheartening to note that corruption, in such a respectable institution is rampant and this erodes the confidence that citizens have in the judicial system,” she said.
During the event, which was also graced by former president Joyce Banda, the Judiciary also paid special tribute to retired Chief Justices Richard Banda, Leonard Unyolo, the late Friday Makuta and the late Justice Lewis Chatsika, by namin some of its court sessions.
The Sherry party is a celebration marking the opening of the Judiciary’s legal year.