Malawi: Activist Pushes for Judges Bribery Speedy Trial - 'Arrest 1 Public Officer, Veteran Politician'

13 February 2020

Human rights activist, Reverend MacDonald Sembereka, who is also a member of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has said it is unfortunate that there is silence on the trial of business mogul Thom Mpinganjira, who was arrested by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the alleged judge bribery saga over the disputed presidential election case.

Matemba promised more arrests to follow

Mpinganjira was arrested last month and is currently on bail.

ACB director, Reyneck Matemba, told the press that there would be more arrests, disclosing there were "several of them" involved.

Nyasa Times understand those involved include a senior public officer "with one of the [the three] arms of the government" and a veteran politician--as the suspects.

And speaking to Nyasa Times, Sembereka said Malawians were being taken for granted.

"We are calling for the arrest of other people who wanted to bribe judges and on top of that we are calling for the quick trial for same case on Mpinganjira as you are aware that justice delayed is justice denied," said Sembereka.

Sembereka said people might view the arrest of Mpinganjira as a way of using him as a political pawn saying: "We don't want that, we want justice for all."

But in an another interview, Matemba said ACB is doing everything possible to have the case concluded.

Matemba said while it is true that justice delayed is justice justice denied, ACB is doing everything possible to conclude the cases of Mpinganjira.

He said on the conclusion of the one who is said to have attempted to bribe judges, Matemba said Malawians will be informed on the next cause of action.

And Sembereka added: "We are calling upon courts to move on fast to find out what really happened and finish this case, it shouldn't be like that of former president Bakili Muluzi. Mpinganjira is but a victim of circumstances fueled by greed in DPP camps."

While he clarified that the bureau could not just jump into making arrests before investigations were completed, Matemba inadvertently hinted that a member of the Judiciary was under investigation in connection with the alleged bribery attempt, saying: "If that was the case [to arrest suspects before investigations are concluded], the Chief Justice could also have proceeded with disciplinary proceedings against the member of the Judiciary."

Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) hcalled for a speedy and independent inquiry following revelations that Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda wrote an official complaint to the ACB over the allegations.

Malawi Law Society (MLS) also issued a statement condemning the alleged attempts to interfere with the election case results, asking the ACB to swiftly investigate and prosecute the culprits.

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