13 February 2018

Malawi: Private Company 'Captured' Malawi's Attorney-General Office

analysis

Malawi's attorney-general - the government's legal adviser and representative in all court cases against the state - improperly acted for a multinational company embroiled in a long-running legal dispute, the Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi (CIJM) can reveal.

The fact that A-G Charles Mhango represented timber processing company Raiply Malawi in the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal is seen as highlighting the powerful influence the company exercises in government circles.

The CIJM has uncovered evidence that as soon as the centre began asking questions about Raiply's relationship with the A-G's office, the company applied to have its legal representation switched to a private law firm.

The CIJM was also unable to find records showing that the A-G formally applied to represent the company, as per normal procedure.

A Malawian law professor at the University of Cape Town, Danwood Chirwa, said the A-G's job is to serve as the principal legal adviser to the government, a constitutional mandate that must be discharged "professionally and independently".

He said that if an A-G is compromised in the performance of this function, it is grounds for dismissal.

Chirwa noted that past Malawian A-Gs had...

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