CHAPTER 2:04

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY (POWERS AND PRIVILEGES)

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

Short Title and Interpretation

section

1. Short title

2. Interpretation

PART II

Privileges and Immunities

3. Immunity from legal proceedings

4. Freedom from arrest

5. Exercise of civil process

6. Entry to Assembly

7. Regulation of admission to Assembly

8. Order of withdrawal from Assembly

PART III

Evidence

9. Power to order attendance of witnesses

10. Attendance to be notified by summons

11. Power to issue warrant to compel attendance

12. Witnesses may be examined on oath

13. Objection to answer question or to produce papers

14. Privileges of witnesses

15. Evidence of proceedings in Assembly or committee not to be given
without leave

16. Questions relating to evidence and production of documents before the
Assembly or committee to be determined in accordance with usage of United Kingdom Parliament

PART IV

Offences and Penalties

17. Proceedings to be deemed judicial proceedings for certain purposes

18. Offences relating to admittance to the Assembly

19. Other offences

20. Acceptance of bribes by members

PART v

Miscellaneous

section

21. United Kingdom Commons Journals to be prima facie evidence in
inquiries touching privilege

22. Journals printed by the Government Printer to be admitted as
evidence

23. Penalty for printing false copy of Act, journal, etc.

24. Protection of persons responsible for publications authorized by the
Assembly

25. Publication of proceedings without malice

26. Exercise of jurisdiction by courts

27. Powers of officers

28. Power of arrest

29. Speaker may order words out of order not to be published

30. Sanction for prosecutions

31. Rules

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CHAPTER 2:04

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY (POWERS AND PRIVILEGES)

4 of 1957
G.N. 22/1963
16/1964(M)
137/1966
166/1967

An Act to declare and define certain Powers, Privileges and Immunities of the National Assembly and of the Members of such Assembly, to secure Freedom of Speech in the National Assembly, to regulate Admittance to the Precincts of the National Assembly, to give Protection to the Persons employed in the Publication of the Reports and other Papers of the National Assembly and for purposes incidental to or connected with the matters aforesaid

[13th February, 1957]

PART I

Short Title and Interpretation

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act.

2.

Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“Assembly” means National Assembly of Malaŵi;

“Clerk” means the Clerk of the National Assembly;

“committee” means any standing, sessional, select or other committee of the Assembly;

“journals” means the minutes of the Assembly or the official record of the votes and proceedings thereof;

“member” means any member of the Assembly;

“officer of the Assembly” means the Clerk or any other officer or person acting within the precincts of the Assembly, other than when serving a summons under section 10 (3), under the orders of the Speaker, and includes any police officer on duty within the precincts of the Assembly;

Cap. 13:01

“police officer” has the same meaning as in the Police Act;

“precincts of the Assembly” means the chamber and offices of the Assembly and the galleries and places provided for the use or accommodation of strangers, members of the public and representatives of the press, and includes, while the Assembly is sitting, and subject to any exceptions made by direction of the Speaker, the entire building in which the chamber of the Assembly is situated, and any forecourt, yard, garden, enclosure or open space adjoining or appertaining to such building and used or provided for the purposes of the Assembly;

“Speaker” means the Speaker of the Assembly and includes any other member when such other member is presiding at a meeting of the Assembly;

“Standing Orders” means the Standing Orders of the Assembly for the time being in force;

“stranger” means any person other than a member or an officer of the Assembly.

PART II

Privileges and Immunities

3.

Immunity from legal proceedings

No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member for words spoken before, or written in a report to, the Assembly or to a committee, or by reason of any matter or thing so brought by him by petition, Bill, motion or otherwise.

4.

Freedom from arrest

No member shall be liable to arrest—

(a) for any civil debt whilst going to, attending at or returning from a sitting of the Assembly or any committee;

(b) within the precincts of the Assembly while the Assembly or a committee is sitting, for any criminal offence without the consent of the Speaker.

5.

Exercise of process

No process issued by any court in the exercise of its jurisdiction

shall be served or executed within the precincts of the Assembly while the
Assembly is sitting or through the Speaker, the Clerk or any officer of the Assembly.

6.

Entry to Assembly

No stranger shall be entitled, as of right, to enter or to remain within the precincts of the Assembly.

7.

Regulation of admission to Assembly

(1) The Speaker is hereby authorized to issue such orders as he may in his discretion deem necessary for the regulation of the
admittance of strangers to the precincts of the Assembly.

(2) Copies of orders made under this section shall be duly authenticated by the Clerk and exhibited in a conspicuous position in the precincts of the Assembly; and such copies when so authenticated and exhibited shall be deemed to be sufficient notice to all persons affected thereby.

8.

Order of withdrawal from Assembly

The Speaker may at any time order any stranger to withdraw from the precincts of the Assembly.

PART III

Evidence

9.

Power to order attendance of witnesses

The Assembly or any committee may, subject to section 14 and section 16, order any person to attend before the Assembly or before such committee and to give evidence or to produce any paper, book,
record or document in the possession or under the control of such
person.

10.

Attendance to be notified by summons

(1) Any order to attend to give evidence or to produce
documents before the Assembly or a committee shall be notified to the person required to attend or to produce the documents by a summons, in such form as may be prescribed, under the hand of the Clerk issued by the direction of the Speaker or, in the case of a committee, by the chairman
and so described on the face of such summons. Every such
summons, if purporting to bear the signature of the Clerk, shall be deemed
prima facie to be lawful and to be issued by the direction of the Speaker or the chairman as the case may be.

(2) In every summons under subsection (1) there shall be stated the time when and the place where the person summoned is required to attend and the particular documents which he is required to produce and the summons shall be served on the person mentioned therein either by delivering to him a copy thereof or by leaving a copy thereof at his usual or last known place of abode in Malaŵi, with some adult person; and there shall be paid or tendered to the person so summoned, if he does not reside within four miles of the place of attendance specified in the summons, such sum for his expenses as may be prescribed by Standing Orders.

(3) A summons under this section may be served by an officer of the Assembly or by a police officer.

11.

Power to issue warrant to compel attendance

(1) If a person to whom a summons under section 10 is directed does not attend before the Assembly or the committee at the time and place mentioned therein, the Speaker may, upon being satisfied that the summons was duly served or that the person to whom the summons is directed wilfully avoids service, direct the Clerk to issue a warrant, in such form as may be prescribed, to apprehend him and bring him, at a time and place to be stated in the warrant, before the Assembly or
committee.

(2) A warrant issued under this section shall be executed by a police officer.

(3) The Speaker, on directing the issue of a warrant under this section, may, if he thinks fit, by ordering an appropriate endorsement on the warrant, direct that the person named in the warrant be released after arrest on his entering into such a recognizance before a court for his appearance before the Assembly or committee as may be required in the endorsement.

(4) Every warrant issued under this section and every endorsement upon such warrant shall, if purporting to bear the signature of the Clerk, be deemed prima facie to be lawful and to be issued or made under the direction or order of the Speaker.

12.

Witnesses may be examined on oath

The Assembly or any committee empowered to order the attendance
of witnesses may require that any facts, matters and things relating to the subject of inquiry before the Assembly or such committee be verified or otherwise ascertained by the oral examination of witnesses, and may cause any such witnesses to be examined upon oath, which the Clerk or the chairman of the committee or other person specially appointed for that purpose by the Assembly or by such committee is hereby authorized to administer.

13.

Objection to answer question or to produce papers

(1) Subject to section 14, where any person ordered to attend to give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or document before the Assembly refuses to answer any question that may be put to him or to produce any such paper, book, record or document on the ground that the same is of a private nature and does not affect the subject of
inquiry, the Speaker may excuse the answering of such question or the production of such paper, book, record or document, or may order the answering or production thereof.

(2) Subject to section 14, where any person ordered to attend or to give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or document before any committee refuses to answer any question that may be put to him or to produce any such paper, book, record or document on the ground that the same is of a private
nature and does not affect the subject of inquiry, the chairman of the committee may report such refusal to the Speaker with the reasons therefor; and the Speaker may thereupon excuse the answering of such question or the production of such paper, book, record or document or may order the answering or production thereof.

14.

Privileges of witnesses

(1) Every person summoned to attend to give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or document before the Assembly or a committee thereof shall be entitled, in respect of such evidence or the disclosure of any communication or the production of any such paper, book, record or document to the same right or privilege as before a court of law.

(2) Except with the consent of the President, no person in the employment of the Government shall—

(a) produce before the Assembly or a committee any paper, book, record or document; or

(b) give before the Assembly or a committee evidence,

relating to the correspondence of any naval, military or air force matter; nor shall secondary evidence be received by or produced before the Assembly or a committee of the contents of any such paper, book, record or document.

(3) Except when in the opinion of the President it would be contrary to the public interest and the President so directs, no person in the employment of the Government shall refuse—

(a) to produce before the Assembly or a committee any paper, book, record or document; or

(b) to give before the Assembly or a committee evidence,

relating to the correspondence of any civil department or to any matter affecting the public service; secondary evidence shall not be received by or produced before the Assembly or a committee of the contents of any such paper, book, record or document which the President has directed shall not be produced.

(4) An answer by a person to a question put by the Assembly or a committee shall not, except in the case of criminal proceedings under

Cap. 7:01

sections 105, 109, 110 and 112 of the Penal Code or of an offence against this Act, be in any proceedings, civil or criminal, admissible in evidence against him.

15.

Evidence of proceedings in Council or committee not to be given without leave

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