The Blantyre Resident Magistrate Court failed to ahead to start hearing of the case involving former Malawi senior Cabinet Minister George Chaponda and his two alleged accomplices. The case failed to take off in ernest following a protest from the defence team over an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) application to consolidate the matter before substantial trial.
The ACB has two different charge sheets for both Chaponda and Tayub while Mhango has her own.
Before the court could start hearing the case, lead State Prosecutor Reyneck Matemba applied to the court to consolidate the matter before substantial trial, but the defence counsel protested the application.
The defence among several other arguments indicated that it had come to their attention that the State was not ready with the case due to a number of reasons one of which was failure to serve it with the disclosures despite several requests.
After hearing the arguments from the two sides, Chief Resident Magistrate (CRM) Simeon Mdeza adjourned the matter toSeptember 14 and further ordered the State to make a formal application on the consolidation of the case as well as serving the defence team with the disclosure.
The court gave the State up to Thursday this week to undertake the two tasks and further directed the defence to respond, if they have issues, by September 7 2017.
The former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, and his two accomplices Rashid Tayub a director at Transglobe Produce Export Limited and Grace Mijiga Mhango, a businesswoman and also chairperson of the Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi (GTPA) are being accused of playing clandestine roles in the procurement of maize from Zambia in a scam now dubbed Maizegate.
Chaponda, vice president of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is answering three charges of misuse of public office, influencing a public officer to misuse public office in relation to the maize issue and possession of foreign currency without the lawful justification.
Tayub is answering the charge of influencing a public officer to misuse public office while Mhango was slapped with the charge of forgery.