The Judicial Service Commission has finally dismissed magistrate Maxford Gandali, who was suspended last year following his alleged involvement in corrupt practices.
The fired magistrate reportedly failed to uphold the rule of law by indulging in improper behaviour such as demanding money from court users as well as embezzling funds meant for compensating people.
Gandali was stationed at Liwonde Magistrate’s Court in Machinga, but he committed the alleged misconduct while serving in Zomba.
Deputy registrar of High Court of Malawi and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Agnes Patemba, who was chief resident magistrate (CRM) heading the Eastern Region at the time Gandali committed the alleged crime, confirmed the dismissal in an interview.
“I can confirm that he was indeed dismissed with effect from February 6 2017 but for further details contact our spokesperson,” she said.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said the Judicial Service Commission, which is headed by Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, made the resolution to dismiss Gandali following the gravity of offences.
A letter of dismissal signed by Nyirenda that The Nation has seen says Gandali’s actions contravened rule 2(6) of the General Code of Conduct and Rules 2(1) and (2) of the Judicial Code Ethics as stipulated in the Eleventh and Twelfth Schedule to the Conditions of Service for judicial officers (2012) respectively.
“The Chief Justice has time and again warned both judicial officers and support staff to refrain from malpractices that would degrade the integrity and dignity of the Judiciary. Therefore, Judiciary condemns such malpractices that would bring the reputation of the institution into disrepute,” said Mvula.
Gandali has worked with the Judiciary since November 2009 when he was appointed as third grade magistrate.
Last year, he was sent on indefinite suspension following several verbal and written warnings as a result of official complaints lodged against him by court users.
According to Patemba, on several occasions she summoned and verbally warned Gandali about his “unbecoming behaviour of soliciting money from court users” but he never changed.
Before the suspension, Patemba also complained that despite the warnings she continued receiving queries from court users against Gandali’s conduct of soliciting bribes.
Within one year, Patemba transferred him to three different courts, but complaints of his demanding bribes from clients did not cease.
The fired magistrate’s phone could not be reached when The Nation sought his comment on the issue yesterday.
Cases of soliciting bribes among magistrates have risen over the years, but most perpetrators carry on due to failure by court users to report them to relevant agencies such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and police.
In 2011, the court convicted former Blantyre chief resident magistrate David Kadwa and later sentenced him to two years imprisonment on charges bordering on corruption.
He was later pardoned by President Peter Mutharika on medical grounds.