President Lazarus Chakwera did not fire former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni from the civil service, but only removed him from the post of DPP, Minister of Information and Digitisation Gospel Kazako has clarified.
The minister, who is also the official government spokesperson, said this when The Nation asked him about Kayuni’s status and his current position in the Ministry of Justice under which the DPP’s office falls.
In an interview yesterday, Kazako said: “The President used a very specific word ‘remove’ to describe his action which is also in the law.
“That is clear enough. Any attempt to alter the speech by using faulty scale of semantics and phonology should be avoided as it might be mistaken as a design to fit into a certain matrix to create confusion and preferred biased narrative.”
Chakwera removed him as DPP: Kayuni
In a separate interview also yesterday, presidential press secretary Anthony Kasunda said the President exercised his constitutional power to remove Kayuni as DPP.
“Any claim that he has gone beyond his powers by also dismissing Dr. Kayuni from the civil service is false,” he said.
The President on January 18 2023 removed Kayuni as the country’s DPP for what he called his “unsound management of a personal grievance” following a report by a Commission of Inquiry into the December 6 2022 arrest of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Martha Chizuma.
After Kayuni’s removal from office, some legal commentators, including the Malawi Law Society and anti-money laundering law expert Jai Banda faulted Chakwera for dismissing Kayuni from the civil service.
Kayuni could not be reached on his known mobile number.
The President acted on Kayuni by removing him as the DPP, but said his decision, which he made earlier in January last year to forgive Chizuma over a leaked audio in which she was discussing an ongoing corruption investigation with a third-party, remained unchanged.
Kayuni, who felt injured by the content of the leaked audio, lodged a criminal defamation complaint with Malawi Police Service at Area 30 in Lilongwe in his personal capacity against Chizuma.
Following Chizuma’s arrest carried out at dawn of December 6 2022, the President ordered police to release her unconditionally and she was released hours later.
In his address of January 18, Chakwera hinted that he considered the act of unsound judgement on the fired DPP to be a breach of public trust as it was a serious matter for Malawi’s lead prosecutor to have a moment of unsound judgement or conflict of interest.
Kayuni was replaced by Masauko Chamkakala, who until this new appointment was director general at the Legal Aid Bureau.