Controversial Magistrate Chisakamile Discharged
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has dismissed two magistrates including beleaguered Zomba Senior Resident Magistrate Benedicto Chisakamile, who surprised many when he freed business magnet Dr Thomson Mpinganjira last year, for the unethical discharge of judicial functions.
Chisakamile came to light in January 2020 when he cancelled a warrant of arrest issued by another magistrate for the then Chief Executive Officer of FHD Holdings Mpinganjira who is suspected of attempting to bribe a panel of Constitutional Court judges who were hearing the Presidential election case.
It all started with lawyer Lusungu Gondwe representing Dr Thomson Mpinganjira who travelled all the way from Blantyre at night to secure a court order in Zomba when his client was taken by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on allegations that he wanted to influence justice by bribing judges.
In his late-night ruling, Senior Resident Magistrate Chisakamile trashed the basis on which the ACB arrested Mpinganjira and subsequently cancelled his arrest warrant which was issued by a fellow magistrate.
His action raised questions on the legality of a magistrate overriding another magistrate’s order.
When the matter was taken to the High Court, Judge Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga ordered that the magistrate be disciplined for his conduct. She also observed that lawyer Gondwe was not in court in Zomba when the arrest warrant was being cancelled and described it as “improper” and “unethical” conduct for the learned legal counsel.
In a notice of dismissal on 8 February, after close to 6 months since he appeared before a disciplinary committee in August 2020, Judiciary Registrar Gladys Gondwe writes that the Judicial Service Commission has directed that the magistrate be dismissed with immediate effect.
She confirmed the dismissal of Chisakamile when contacted but declined to divulge more details.
However, Zodiak understands that the decision was made on grounds of the magistrate’s objectionable conduct in the discharge of judicial functions contrary to rule 2(6) of the General Code of Conduct (Eleventh Schedule to Conditions of Service for Judicial Officers) and unethical conduct contrary to rule 1 of the Judicial Code of Ethics (Twelfth Schedule to Conditions of Service for Judicial Officers.
Apart from magistrate Chisakamile, the Judicial Service Commission has also dismissed Magistrate Trustgod Mkandawire of Edingeni Magistrate Court for Objectionable conduct in the discharge of judicial duties, unethical conduct and absenteeism.
Another Magistrate Cecilia Malemia has been sent on forced retirement for misappropriating money.