The alleged corruption case against former president Bakili Muluzi which now enters its 14th year should be discontinued or concluded as tax-payers continue to lose resources each passing year, the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Commiittee has said.
The committee’s chairperson Yusuf Nthenda – a lawyer by profession – said this in reaction yo a report Attorney General Dr Chikosa Silungwe submitted to the committee highlighting progress made in prosecuting Muluzi in the case where the State had accused him of K1.7 billion paid in his personal account to support his party’s 2004 elections as diverting donor funds .
Nthenda, who is Mulanje West member of parliament, said the prosecutuing agencies were still waiting for a determination of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal on some issues , including how the case should proceed.
“Since 2009 , resources gave been allocated to the case, We cannot really give the direction on how the court should proceed with the case, but we would want the matter to reach its logical conclusion,” said Nthenda the MP who is affiliated to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
He added: “ If the case is not prosecutable, they [prosecuting agencies] should just withdraw it, so that resources should be allocated to other issues.”
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba believes the case needs a political solution “ backed by the law’ because it is not prosecutable.
Matemba, who once prosecuted Muluzi before he recused himself in the case when he was ACB)deputy director general, holds the strong personal view that no one would come at the bureau and successfully prosecute Muluzi case that the former president claimed was opened out of political vendetta.
Actually, all presidents that came after Muluzi, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda and Peter Mutharika, have seen the now 78-year-old being involved in endless court battles in the matter.
Matemba explained that the reason behind his insistence that the case requires a political solution backed by the law is that ACB does not discontinue cases without legal reasons, for example lack of evidence, because that leaves room for lawsuits accused persons usually bring based on either malicious prosecution, false imprisonment or loss of business.
The ACB director general said there are legal procedures that guide the process to have a case discontinued, explaining that the bureau writes to the Director of Public Prosecutions, providing legal reasons as to why it wants a particular case discontinued.
He said if the top prosecutor is satisfied, a certificate of discontinuance is issued and writes a report to Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament.
Professor of law at Chancellor, College Garton Kamchedzera, said there are laid down legal procedures when authorities decide to withdraw an indictment as Matemba correctly explained.
ACB directors that have overseen Muluzi’s case
- 2004 to 2006: Gustav Kaliwo, resigned shortly after he arrested Muluzi
- 2006 to 2007: The late Tumalisye Ndovi, rejected by Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament
- 2007 to 2012: Alex Nampota, re-engaged after he previously deputised the first ever ACB boss, Gilton Chiwaula in late 1990s
- 2012 to 2014: Justice Rezine Mzikamanda, returned to Judiciary, Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal
- 2014 to 2017: Lucas Kondowe, left after his three-year long contract expired
- 2017 to date: ACB acting boss and later director general Reyneck Matemba