Malawi president fires Attorney General

Malawi's newly elected President Lazarus Chakwera takes the oath of office in Lilongwe, Malawi, June 28, 2020. (AP)

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has fired the country’s Attorney General (AG), Chikosa Silungwe, local media reported Wednesday.

No reason has been given for the development but the country’s online media outlet, the Nation Publications Limited (NPL) and other local outlets said both the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs have confirmed that Silungwe’s contract has been terminated.

Earlier in the year, the OPC instituted an investigation on the office of the AG following leakage of a number of memos from the AG giving the president a legal opinion on particular trending issues.

At one of the regular televised statehouse press briefings monitored by Xinhua in April, President Chakwera’s press secretary, Brian Banda, said the president “is very concerned that memos of this type are leaked to the public”.

“The president sees this as a matter of corruption and the president is committed to dealing with this matter and finding a lasting solution. Once caught, the culprit will be dealt with,” Banda said then.

But Silungwe has always distanced himself from the leakage of his memos and he once described the practice as “simply silly and immature”.

The AG becomes the second high-profile figure to be fired from President Chakwera’s first cohort of the cabinet after the Malawi leader fired Minister of Labour, Ken Kandodo, in April in connection to abuse of COVID-19 funds under the minister’s guard.