The Malawi President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has fired Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Dr. Steven Kayuni over his ‘unsound judgment’ surrounding the matter in which the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director Martha Chizuma was arrested.
Chizuma in a pre-dawn raid was arrested by the Police and charged with an offence of making use of speech capable of prejudicing a person against a party to judicial proceedings contrary to Section113(1d) of the Malawi Penal Code. The section stipulates when a judicial proceeding is pending, it is an offence to make “use of any speech or writing misrepresenting such proceeding or capable of prejudicing any person in favour of or against any parties to such proceeding, or calculated to lower the authority of any person before whom such proceeding is being had or taken”.
The firing of Kayuni was made to the public via a national address on Wednesday morning.
Said the President in making a case for the firing of Kayuni:
“The second issue I want to address is the role of Dr. Steven William Kayuni, who is also the Director of Public Prosecutions. The report says that the police acted on a lawful complaint that was lodged by Dr. Kayuni because he feels personally and criminally injured by the sentiments expressed by Ms. Chizuma in the audio that leaked a year ago.
“The Commission also acknowledged that as any citizen of Malawi, Dr. Kayuni has a constitutional right to file a case against Ms. Chizuma in his personal capacity. However, where the Commission found Dr. Kayuni in the wrong was in his decision to file a personal complaint on matters pertaining to his office as Director of Public Prosecutions while still holding that office, which the Commission found to be a conflict of interest and an act of unsound judgment.
On an ‘unsound judgment,’ the President thundered:
“As President, I consider this act of unsound judgment by Dr. Kayuni to be a breach of public trust, for it is a serious matter for Malawi’s lead prosecutor to have a moment of unsound judgment or a conflict of interest.
“So I consider this a great failure for Dr. Kayuni and a great disappointment to me. For this reason, as the appointing authority for that important office, I summoned Dr. Kayuni to express to him my great displeasure and to hear his response in the interest of natural justice. While he expressed deep regret for his unsound judgment, he also made it clear that he feels deeply wounded by the continuing damage caused to his reputation and personal safety by the audio that leaked a year ago.
“As such, to prevent him from using a public office to settle a personal injury, I have removed Dr. Kayuni from office with immediate effect, and I thank him for his many years of service.”
To those fighting corruption, the President has encouraged interagency cooperation. He elucidated the principle: “So make no mistake: no strategy against corruption is a winning strategy if it does not treat interagency cooperation as a necessity.”