The High Court of Malawi in Zomba has granted private practice lawyer Frank Mbeta permission to apply for judicial review on the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) decision to prosecute him.
The order by High Court Judge Mzonde Mvula followed an application by Mbeta following a move by ACB to prosecute him using summons after the bureau’s hands were tied through a court order the lawyer obtained in 2015.
In the order dated October 6 2021, Mvula said the ACB was now restricted from prosecuting Mbeta using summons as per its application.
The ACB wanted to start prosecuting Mbeta on corruption charges dating back to 2015.
Court documents show that Mbeta allegedly offered a Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) employee K2 million to erase files on computers the public tax collector seized from his client in 2015. The court documents show that Mbeta’s client was being investigated for alleged tax evasion.
However, Mbeta on May 18 2015 obtained a court injunction restricting the bureau from arresting him.
In a written response last evening, ACB director general Martha Chizuma said the bureau was studying the order to see the way forward. She said the bureau was served with the order yesterday.
She said: “You may need to know that the bureau was supposed to caution Mr. Mbeta on this offence so we are still mulling over this order to see the way forward.”
Lawyer representing Mbeta, Lusungu Gondwe, referred the matter to of Ritz Attorneys’ spokesperson Lozindaba Mbvundula who was yet to respond to our inquiry by press time around 8pm.
In November last year, ACB principal public relations officer Egrita Ndala said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had given the bureau consent to prosecute the case. She is on record as having said that the ACB would not arrest Mbeta, but commence the case against him through summons.