Maize Gate Update: AG Says Court Does Not Have The Jurisdiction In a Judicial Review On Administrative Action

The Attorney General’s office has filed a motion at the High Court in Mzuzu to vacate an ex-parte injunction a private individual and three civil society organisations obtained last Thursday asking the Court to suspend Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda to pave way for smooth investigations on the maizegate scandal.

Attorney General Kelekeni Kaphale argues in his motion that the Court does not have the jurisdiction in a judicial review on administrative action and that the application by the civil society organisatons “ does not disclose an arguable case or serious questions fit for further inquiry at a judicial review hearing.”

The Court has set Tuesday 17th January, 2017 for the initial hearing of the Attorney General’s application.

The CSOs that were led by private individual Charles Kajoloweka – are Mzuzu based Youth and Society and Church and Society Programme and the Lilongwe based Center for Development of People.

Chaponda, who was served with court papers on Thursday, faces contempt of court charges and possible arrest if he does not duly comply with the High Court order.

The judicial review application filed on Wednesday afternoon under civil cause number 01 of 2017, lists the respondents as: Chaponda as first respondent, the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale as second respondent and President Peter Mutharika as third respondent.

While the applicants are: Charles Kajoloweka as first applicant, Youth and Society as second, CCAP Synod of Livingstonia (Church and Society Programme) as third and Centre for Development of People as fourth.

In the AG application filed on Thursday, the executive arm of government wants the second respondent, the AG Kalekeni Kaphale struck off the case because none of his decisions, actions or inactions are under inquiry in the intended judicial review application.

Further they want to Court to remove the three CSOs as parties to the application saying they all do not have sufficient standing in the case.

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