By Dr. Atusaye Munthali
The movement pressuring Ashok Nair to withdraw his lawsuit against Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma over contents of a leaked audio is getting it all wrong and risks twisting the course of justice.
In the audio, Chizuma is in a conversation with someone where she makes a number of allegations which include that Ashok bribed Judge Simeon Mdeza who released him after bring arrested by ACB. It is well known that Mdeza, feeling affronted, recused himself from the Ashok case.
Some have argued that while she made the allegations, the conversation was not meant for public circulation, hence Ashok’s lawsuit being an overreaction and bent
to frustrate ACB’s action on the case for which Ashok was first arrested.
Both these arguments are irrelevant and dangerous and should not be tolerated.
In the first place, that the audio was not meant for public circulation is beside the point. The fact is that it circulated and the world heard Chizuma making serious and damaging claims that Ashok had bribed Judge Mdeza to set him free. It is only fair justice that Chizuma must explain her allegations in court. It is also justice that Ashok will have the opportunity to give his side of the story.
Secondly, that Ashok’s court action is meant to interfere with ACB’s pursuit of the case is also outrageous. Ashok has gone to court expressly on the basis of allegations which Chizuma has made against him.
Why should he be prevented from clearing his name, now, simply because he is also involved in another case? Where does that law come from? And how does his seeking to get Chizuma to explain her allegations got to do with the other case? Things do not add up at all in this.
It is clear that those seeking to stop Ashok from continuing with his lawsuit against Chizuma are only stirring mob justice against Ashok, which is criminal. The facts of the matter don’t look like they are balancing. The campaign for Ashok to drop the case seems to be motivated by other ill intentions and not justice. It is not written anywhere in the laws of Malawi that an ACB Director General should not be dragged to court for damaging other people’s names.
The case should be allowed to continue so that Chizuma should prove her allegations in court and Ashok must explain himself since he was not in that audio to explain his side of the story. We should not stop the wheels of justice from operating the way they are supposed to simply because of our own, ill-conceived interests. Every Malawian has the right to justice. Let the court decide whether there is a case or not.