Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court on Tuesday, May 29, 2023 discharged a case in which former head of information, communications and technology (ICT) at State House, Chance Chingwalungwalu, was being accused of cyber harassment, a crime which Malawi Police claimed happened on 20 January 2023.
In the Criminal Cause Number 65 of 2023, the State accused Chingwalungwalu of authoring an online story which alleged that President Lazarus Chakwera was practicing nepotism in appointing and promoting Malawi Defence Force soldiers and this led to his arrest on 20 February , 2023 by the Cyber Crime Unit of Criminal Investigation Department of Malawi Police.
In interview yesterday, his lawyer Madalitso Kausi said the case has been discharged because the State failed to provide evidence since his arrest in February this year.
“The court directed that as Defence team we had to be served with disclosures by March 23 as the matter was coming for plea and hearing on the 11th of April, i can confirm that the disclosures were not served to the defence and the court when we went to court on 11 April and the state was not present at the court without giving a reason. So we applied for a discharge as it was clear that the state had no interest in the case and was only trying to persecute my client.” Added Kausi.
According to the documents with have seen, Counsel Kausi of Doreen and Cuthbert lawyers served Police Headquarters the discharge application on 14 April but as of yesterday when the court met, there was no response from Area 30.
The matter was heard in camera and the state did not object to the discharge application, however, the state asked the court that if the investigations are through, the matter will be taken to court again.
This becomes the second time that a case is discharged for Chingwalungwalu after he was also discharged on April 4, 2022 alongside former head of National Intelligence Service (NIS), Kenam Kalirani.
In that case, the two were accused of stealing equipment belonging to NIS.
The matter discharged because the State also failed to provide evidence.
President Lazarus Chakwera Tonse Alliance government has been using Malawi Police Service (MPS) wrongly to suppress right to expression through Electronic Transactions & Cyber Security Act.
Chakwera’s Tonse government has also been using the same unpalatable law to muzzle Malawi media.