Lilongwe South member of Parliament (MP) Peter Dimba (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) has omplained about the long delay in dispensation of justice and blamed it on political interference.
Dimba speaking in parliament cited the K1.7 billion corruption case involving former president Bakili Muluzi as “a very classic example” of delayed justice in Malawi.
“The case has taken 10, 11 years, 11 budgets and 11 maize harvests. Mr Speaker, Sir, 11 years is a long period of time. I think it stops to be called prosecution but now it can be called persecution because 11 years it is too much,” said Dimba.
Muluzi, 73 is being tried along with his former secretary Lyness Whiskey as government claimed 1.7 billion Malawian kwacha ($12 million) in the former president’s account during his 1994-2004 presidency came from donors.
Court documents shows most of the funds were from his business empire Atupele Properties and donation for his political party campaign from Taiwan, Morocco and Libya.
“At a time when we thought the case should be concluded, low and behold, it disappointing to learn that the lead prosecutor recused himself while holding bed tears in which was encrypted a message of political influence in this case,” noted the MCP legislator.
The lead prosecutor in the case, Reyneck Matemba, who is also Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy directror, recently recused himself from the case, citing personal reasons.
He also noted that Judge Maclean Kamwambe had to tell the State to “demonstrate seriousness” in the matter and or “come out plainly on its intentions” .
“If the state wants to continue with the case, let the case be expedited,” said Dimba, adding “ but if the state does not want to go ahead, then, set the former President (Muluzi) free.”
Dimba noted that Malawi is emerging as a specialist in dragging to court virtually all former presidents and other senior leaders.
“What I am saying is that let us stop politicising cases in our country because this is derailing development in every front.
“We remember very well how the case of Dr Muluzi started. It started when he said that he would deflate the tube that he inflated. This was after his son (Atupele Muluzi) was arrested by the DPP-led government. That is politicisation of cases,” said Dimba
In his comments after the National Assembly passed the Courts (Amendment) Bill, Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu said politicians should face the consequences of their criminal activities without regarding that as political persecution.
“ It seems to me that in every case that involves a politician, either the politician himself or everybody else claims that the case is politically motivated. I am sure that it will take a big mind-set change for all of us to accept that even leaders or politicians are capable of committing crimes. When a crime has been committed, you would allow the justice system to take its full course,” said Tembenu.
In a newspaper interview, ACB boss Lucas Kondowe said recently he could not comment much on the case as it is before the courts.
However, he said before he joined the bureau, his opinion of the Muluzi case was like most people, “which was an opinion driven by the media reports that I had read from various sources.”
Kondowe said when he became head of ACB he requested to review the files to “understand the facts of the case thoroughly instead of just receiving the button and running with it.”
He said: “This is one of the best documented cases I have ever seen at the Bureau with over 16 files of material and a great amount of money spent travelling across the globe, conducting interviews and collecting data and various materials. Thanks to the British government which financed most of this work.
“I have also held private discussions with two of my predecessors who presided as DG(s) at the material time. I will not discuss the details of those discussions as they were private. I have enormous respect and admiration for these two great sons of Malawi for their service to the nation.”
Kondowe said:”I have expressed reservations with certain aspects of the case which I have discussed with my colleagues at the Bureau in great detail. We have had numerous debates on certain matters that I feel strongly about and would like these resolved as they would have dire consequences.”
The former president has always said the charges were politically motivated.
The defence had asked the court to discharge Muluzi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :