The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has faulted government for ‘prosecution through the media’ in a matter the State is accusing former president Joyce Banda of a role in the infamous plunder of State resources—popularly known as Cashgate.
MLS’s sentiments were sought in view of a statement released by government titled ‘Government Response on ‘JB blasts APM, DPP’ dated December 31 2015 signed by Information Minister Jappie Mhango.
In the statement government is responding to Banda’s statement in which she accused the Peter Mutharika’s administration of deliberately ignoring calls from donors to institute thorough and speedy investigations into the alleged K577 billion scam.
The former president’s statement was quoted in The Nation of December 29 2015.
MLS president John Suzi-Banda, said in a telephone interview on Friday that the state was diluting the seriousness of the matter by taking it to the media.
“As MLS, we cannot prescribe how the former president [Joyce Banda] should respond to the allegations made against her. Whether what she is doing by responding through the same channel is right or wrong remains at the discretion of her lawyers. But what we see as a problem is that the State has a legal authority to investigate and prosecute. Unfortunately, the government has so far abrogated this right,” he said.
In the statement, government claims Banda is on the run following evidence tendered in court by Cashgate convict and former Principal Secretary for Tourism Treza Senzani. It adds that the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) had also earlier put to light similar information.
The MLS President said such statements were only infuriating the general public which expects the government to treat the matter with the seriousness it deserves.
“The effects of Cashgate are still being felt everywhere in the lives of Malawians. Many sectors such as health and education are currently struggling. Therefore, every Malawian expected the State to investigate the matter and prosecute if they have enough evidence. But releasing statements is not what Malawians hired them for.
“If anything, it should not be the Ministry of Information getting involved in these issues. Let the relevant agencies such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) handle it,” said Suzi-Banda. n