Government Departments and Agencies are now seeking second opinion from independent lawyers, as they are not sure of the incumbent Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda’s legal opinions.
Chakaka Nyirenda who came in on a populist platform, has been blamed for a number of legal blunders and advice that has put public officers at odds with the law.
A survey of government departments and agencies show that at least 10 of them have sought outside legal advice after receiving opinion from the AG office which many are not comfortable with.
“The AG has displayed to be following political not legal reasoning. He cancelled passports contracts and then reversed it. He even told the media passports could be cheaper, which is policy issue outside his mandate. The Department of Immigration now is in trouble they have no passports. How do you expect us to follow his reasoning,” a Principal Secretary in one of Government Ministries asked our reporters.
Chakaka Nyirenda is on record to have granted amnesty to all those that stole public funds before reversing it and President Lazarus Chakwera publicly disagreed with him. Legal minds stated he had no powers to offer such.
Last year, he made headlines again when he advised Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba and Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni not appear before a parliamentary inquiry. The two now faces contempt of Parliament charges.
The Attorney General is also said to have advised the President and Zamba to fire Anti Corruption Bureau Director (ACB) a move that damaged Zambas reputation.
“His advice is seen as dangerous. He will get many people jailed. Look at the Minister of Agriculture, he proceeded to ignore all procurement rules because the AG advised him it is okey. Every experienced civil servant knows you need PPDA and ACB approvals in black and white before proceeding with contracts. He is very dangerous and reckless,” charged a CEO at a parastatal which now says uses only private legal opinions and only send to AG as reference.
Chakaka Nyirenda also overturned former DPP Steven Kayunis rejection of eminent legal mind Mordecai Msisha to prosecute Vice President Soulosi Chilima.
“The AG doesn’t seem to understand the limits of his powers. There is a silent agreement among heads of government departments and agencies that we be more careful with his advice,” confirmed another.
Chakaka Nyirenda was not available for comment and the development is undermining the office as he has reduced it to become irrelevant in public service.
“You follow his advice at your own peril,” said a lawyer who has been in government for years.