CHAPTER 14:01
OFFICIAL SECRETS

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   SECTION

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

   3.   Penalties for spying

   4.   Wrongful communication, etc., of information

   5.   Definition of prohibited place

   6.   Unauthorized use of uniforms; falsification of reports, forgery, personation and false documents

   7.   Evidence of espionage

   8.   Interfering with officers of the police or members of the armed forces of Malawi

   9.   Power to require the production of telegrams

   10.   Registration and regulation of persons carrying on the business of receiving postal packets

   11.   Duty of giving information as to commission of offences

   12.   Attempts, incitements, etc.

   13.   Penalties for harbouring spies

   14.   Power to arrest

   15.   Appointment of additional officers of police

   16.   Power to convict person charged with felony under Act of misdemeanour under Act

   17.   Provisions as to trial and punishment of offences

   18.   Restriction on prosecution

   19.   Search warrants

   20.   Trial of offences

3 of 1913
13 of 1922
6 of 1923
1 of 1957
s. 6 and 2nd Sch.
G.N. 22/1963
73/1964(M)
137/1966

An Act to provide against the Publication of Official Secrets

[16TH MAY 1913]

1.   Short title

    This Act may be cited as the Official Secrets Act.

2.   Interpretation

   In this Act unless the context otherwise requires—

   Any reference to a place belonging to the Government includes a place belonging to any department of the Government whether the place is or is not actually vested in the Government;

expressions referring to communicating or receiving include any communicating or receiving, whether in whole or in part, and whether the sketch, plan, model, article, note, document, or information itself or the substance, effect, or description thereof only be communicated or received; expressions referring to obtaining or retaining any sketch, plan, model, article, note, or document, include the copying or causing to be copied the whole or any part of any sketch, plan, model, article, note, or document, and expressions referring to the communication of any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document include the transfer or transmission of the sketch, plan, model, article, note or document;

   “document” includes part of a document;

   “model” includes design, pattern, and specimen;

   “munitions of war” includes the whole or any part of any ship, submarine, aircraft, tank or similar engine, arms and ammunition, torpedo, or mine, intended or adapted for use in war, and any other article, material, or device, whether actual or proposed, intended for such use;

   “offence under this Act” includes any act, omission, or other thing which is punishable under this Act;

   “office under the Government” includes any office or employment in or under any department of the Government;

   “sketch” includes any photograph or other mode of representing any place or thing;

   “superintendent of police” includes the person charged with the command, direction and superintendence of the police in any District.

3.   Penalties for spying

   (1) If any person for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State—

   (a)   approaches, inspects, passes over, or is in the neighbourhood of, or enters any prohibited place in Malawi within the meaning of this Act; or

   (b)   makes any sketch, plan, model, or note which is calculated to be or might be or is intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy; or

   (c)   obtains, collects, records, or publishes or communicates to any person any secret official code, word, or pass word, or any sketch, plan, model, article, or note, or other document or information which is calculated to be or might be or is intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy, he shall be guilty of felony.

   (2) On a prosecution under this section, it shall not be necessary to show that the accused person was guilty of any particular act tending to show a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State, and, notwithstanding that no such act is proved against him, he may be convicted if, from the circumstances of the case, or his conduct, or his known character as proved, it appears that his purpose was a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State; and if any sketch, plan, model, article, note, document, or information relating to or used in any prohibited place within the meaning of this Act, or anything in such a place, or any secret official code word or pass word is made, obtained, collected, recorded, published, or communicated by any person other than a person acting under lawful authority, it shall be deemed to have been made, obtained, collected, recorded, published, or communicated for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State unless the contrary is proved.

4.   Wrongful communication, etc., of information

   (1) If any person having in his possession or control any secret official code word, or pass word, or any sketch, plan, model, article, note, document, or information which relates to or is used in a prohibited place or anything in such a place, or which has been made or obtained in contravention of this Act, or which has been entrusted in confidence to him by any person holding office under the Government or which he has obtained or to which he has had access owing to his position as a person who holds or has held office under the Government, or as a person who holds or has held a contract made on behalf of the Government, or as a person who is or has been employed under a person who holds or has held such an office or contract—

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