…Chizuma’s evidence omitted from public report
Lies, contradiction and cover up are the main characteristics of a report by the Commission of Inquiry instituted by President Lazarus Chakwera, who on Wednesday night yielded to public pressure forcing him to release the full report.
Despite trying hard to convince the angry public that the President, Cabinet and others did not know of the impending arrest, the Commission of Inquiry report has opened a can of worms that blaming it on Malawi Police Service alone for the arrest does not make sense.
The Commission headed by Retired Justice of Appeal Edward Twea and 11 others only presented evidence that Police and Government officials such as Attorney General and Solicitor General and conveniently omitted evidence from Martha Chizuma, the arrested Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
The lies include that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni statement was taken by Henry Kalungu, which contradict versions at National Police Headquarters CID department that Kalungu was given the statement by a senior officer to Act.
Police command discussed the arrest
The Investigator also stands by its story that the plot to arrest Chizuma started way before the actual reported meetings and around 21st and 23 November, which the senior CID officers and Kayuni discussed the possible arrest of the ACB Director.
The reports early contradictions indicate that the Malawi Police Service brass, including the Deputy Inspector Generals of Police Happy Mkandawire and Casper Chalera held meetings from the 4th of December to the 5th of December, 2022 without reporting to the Inspector General of Police Marylin Yolamu who was in Zambia nor the Minister of Homeland Security Jean Sendeza or the President himself.
This would be a highly irregular occurrence in Police service especially where those making decisions were in acting capacity. Justice Twea failed to apply simple logic that a high-profile arrest of Chizuma could not go ahead without seeking authority of those in decision making.
Mkandawire and Chalera were dragged in a plot that Head of CID George Njale and Commissioner of Police for Operations Ackis Angello Muwanga had been familiar with and had discussed for a while before the actual arrest happened.
After receiving the complaint on 3rd of December 2022, which was a Saturday, the Police top brass moved with speed on Sunday holding a series of meetings to strategise how to manage the matter and by Monday, 5th of December, 2022 it had already decided to obtain a warrant of arrest.
The report does not state why very senior Police top command Deputy Inspector Generals and Commissioners of Police were having meetings for a simple complaint of criminal defamation which normally is left to the CID and Prosecutions offices.
“One thing that is clear, the Police top command were acting under orders or plan that was being executed. They even missed Sunday church service just to have more meetings to discuss a simple complaint, if the Commission was serious, it would have probed what caused such unusual interest in the matter,” said a senior retired Police investigator.
Conveniently, the meetings have no record anywhere.
The arrest, and still IG, Minister and President blank
The Acting Inspector General of Police Happy Mkandawire, his Operations counterpart Casper Chalera and their immediate subordinates Muwanga and Njale conducted a highly armed operations a less than 800 metres from the State House, but insist they did not see the need to inform their superiors.
The Commission states that 19 public paid officers comprised of nine (9) CID officers and ten (10) PMS officers, three of whom were female convened at main gate of National Police Headquarters in Area 30 at 4:00 am on Tuesday 6th December 2022. Superintendent Alfred Bwanali, Deputy Commander at PMS A Division assembled his officers at the main gate of National Police Headquarters as directed by Mr George Mnjale ACP and Director of CID.
He allocated 2KC rifles to each of them and he armed himself with a baton stick. At this time he was not aware of the nature of the operation and where it would take place. He informed his officers that they would be briefed when the Director of CID arrives.
At 4:00 am, Mr George Mnjale ACP arrived together with a contingent of CID personnel. He briefed the PMS officers that they were going to take part in an operation. Their task was first to provide security coverage to the CID officers throughout the operation and secondly to cordon the house upon arrival at the site of the operation. The Police Mobile Service were instructed to follow the two CID vehicles. Three vehicles were used in this operation.
The Head of the Criminal Investigations Department himself, with a huge show of force arrested Ms Chizuma at her house with a contingent of officers one would think were to take down a terrorist.
Commission omits Chizuma evidence
The Commission accepted the Police version that Ms Chizuma was not abused during the arrest but it fails to demonstrate where the victim herself explains her arrest ordeal. The Commission only quotes Police saying Chizuma asked the lady who was with her at her house to call her brother and that a female officer incidentally bumped into her.
For a Commission headed by a Justice of Appeal and three legal minds many Malawians respected until now namely former President of the Malawi Law Society John Gift Mwakhwawa, Maureen Kachingwe and former Ombudsman Enoch Chibwana, the omission of Chizuma’s evidence renders their work suspicious, biased and grossly unprofessional as it fails to balance the premises of their findings.
Chancellor College Law Lecturer Bernadette Malunga called the report questionable and fact checked the terms of reference has having been designed to victimise Chizuma.
“The whole report makes a sad reading. The reader is left with too many questions. I fear the findings are questionable especially on the leaked audio. The COI clearly state that the audio was a breach of privacy, thus tainted evidence and may be challenged in court and yet they make damaging decisions against the DG based on the same tainted evidence.
“And then am disturbed as to how the COI came to the conclusion that the DG was the troublesome party in her relations with the AG and DPP. No clear and convincing evidence is coming forth from the facts and yet they base that to make recommendations for reorganization in the ACB,” she observed in a social media post.
DPP Steven Kayuni pocketed K5 million
The Commission however confirmed The Investigator version that Kayuni sped up the action against Chizuma, saying enough is enough as the ACB tightened its noose investigating him for allowance scandal that has rocked his department including himself.
The report quotes Allison Mbangombe, Solicitor General telling the Commission that the allowances in question totalled K5 million the Director of Public Prosecutions pocketed in June 2021 for a trip to Vienna, Austria which he did not undertake.
“The Commission was informed that the SG was aware that two weeks prior to the arrest of the DG of ACB, the ACB had instituted investigations into the alleged unaccounted-for travel allowances the DPP had claimed for a failed official trip to Vienna, Austria in June 2021. The amount in question is MK5, 512, 500. 00. The DPP submitted documentary evidence dated 30th June 2021 to the Commission which indicates that upon return from the failed trip, he offered to repay the allowances. The Commission has received evidence that the DPP repaid the sum of K3, 543, 750.00 on 1 st December 2022,” reads the report meaning Kayuni is yet to repay K1.5 million almost 18 months after he pocketed the money.