By Ganizani Zulu 19/1/2018
Daily Malawi News can confirm that government has lost a landmark case in which it will be slapped with lawsuits for compensation after the politically motivated case against Cecilia Kumpukwe, sister to former president and People’s Party founder Joyce Banda, and other People’s Party (PP), Ackson Kalaile Banda, Stella Assani and Yesaya Mkawala has found the accused not guilty.
The State charged the PP officials with two counts of making a false document contrary to Section 353 of the Penal Code and publishing false news likely to cause fear and alarm among members of the Republic of Malawi, which is in contravention of Section 60 (1) of the Penal Code.
They were arrested in connection to a resignation letter purportedly written by Vice President Saulos Chilima.
But they argued the arrests were politically motivated and accused a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for using the police as a tool for harassing and silencing the opposition.
Their lawyers Bright Theu, Nicely Msowoya and Chimwemwe Sikwese have been arguing that the State lacked seriousness to prosecute the matter which had no evidence at all.
Senior resident magistrate (SRM) Chisomo Msokera in Lilongwe has acquitted the accused for lack of prosecution interest to commence trial.
Former President Joyce Banda described the arrest as a political witch-hunt aimed at harassing her and her family.
Reacting to the acquittal, Kumpukwe said she will have to discuss with her lawyers on the way forward, saying a police raid at her residence and Assani’s houses led to confiscation of computers and mobile phones purportedly used in authoring the said document.
“It was not easy for me, for my friends and immediate family members. Life almost came to a standstill as I could not travel since my passport was seized. My reputation has been damaged, So it feels good to be exonated,” she said
She is likely going to claim compensation for wrongful imprisonment to be passed on to taxpayers.
“People’s perception towards me completely changed, I was defamed, anytime someone googles my name, it pops up in connection to the fabrication so it was bad,” she said.
Kalaile Banda also indicated is consulting lawyers to seek compensation for wrongful and false imprisonment.