The Ombudsman’s Office has launched investigations into Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale’s alleged abuse of power and maladministration in engaging South African lawyers to represent Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in the Presidential Elections Appeal case.
In March, MEC engaged a South Africa-based law firm—Mboweni Maluleke Inc Attorneys—to defend the case in the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal at a contract sum of $788 500 (about K600 million).
Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda denied the lawyers’ request to practise in Malawi because they were not physically present during their hearing. Later, Mzuzu-based civil society organisation Youth and Society (YAS) moved the Ombudsman to investigate Kaphale’s conduct.
In separate letters to Kaphale and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) dated May 19 2020, Ombudsman Martha Chizuma has asked the two to submit responses and documentation on the matter, respectively, by June 8 2020.
Kaphale could not be reached for comment yesterday, but he earlier told The Nation that he will no longer speak on any matter related to the elections case.
YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka said Malawians deserve to know the truth on the matter since it is their money involved.
Chizuma has also asked PPDA director general Ellias Hausi to provide supporting documents on the procurement of services for the said lawyers.
When contacted, Hausi said his office was yet to receive the said request from the Ombudsman, and was non-committal to explain his office’s involvement in the procurement deal. Section 120 (1) of the Constitution empowers the Ombudsman to investigate any and all cases where it is alleged that a person has suffered injustice and where it does not appear that there is any remedy reasonably available by way of proceedings in a court or by way of appeal from a court or where there is no other practicable remedy