After years of case stalling, former minister of Finance Friday Jumbe and former minister of Sports Phillip Bwanali will be back in the dock to continue answering charges of theft of K11 million from government through the Sports and Culture Trust Fund.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mrs Mary Kachale has reaffirmed the accusations, formally renewing the criminal case in Jumbe and Bwanali were implicated.
In 2004, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Jumbe and Bwanali, alongside the then chairperson of the Sports and Culture Trust Fund, Vincent Mpaluko, for the alleged disappearance of the K11 million.
Jumbe was charged with misuse of office and gross negligence by a public officer for advancing the K11 million to the Ministry of Sports which Bwanali allegedly took and gave to Mpaluko for the purchase of some footballs that were said to have been distributed to United Democratic Front (UDF) candidates in the May 2004 general elections.
Bwanali, who is also a former member of Parliament (MP) for Thyolo North Constituency under UDF, is facing charges of misuse of office, gross negligence by a public officer in preserving money, theft by a public servant, uttering a false document and obtaining money by false pretence.
The case resumes through High Court Judge Chifundo Kachale (related to Mary Kachale – husband) – who earlier handled the matter when he was Magistrate in Lilongwe.
But private practice lawyer Manuel Theu defending Bwanali has said he will file prelminary objections questioning the justification for the High Court to handle the case instead of the chief resident magistrate (CRM).
Theu want the High Court, in the “wider interests of justice” to direct that the case be heard by a competent lower court.
“On review of the matter and recent proceedings that took place in the High Court’s open court, the defendants raised a hitherto muted issue [on] the justification of exact capacity in which and the implications of the presiding court herein being a High Court is proceeding to handle the matter which is a lower court matter,” Theu objections reads.
Jumbe, who flopped in the presidential race in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections on the New Labour Party ticket, is expected to head yet to be launched state-run Malawi Development Bank.
He has hired new lawyer Maxwell Tembo as he was previously represented by Kalekeni Kaphale, who is now the Attorney General.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :