Chilumpha, Matumula to seek compensation for wrongful imprisonment

State prosecutors no longer wish to pursue a treason case against Dr Cassim Chilumpha who is now Minister of Energy and Mining.

Director of Public Prosecution Bruno Kalemba has indicated that the charges may be dropped.

Chilumpha was arrested in 2006 when he was serving as vice-president to late President Bingu wa Mutharika for allegedly attempting to kill his boss. He was being accused alongside businessperson, Yusuf Matumula who is also Mangochi South MP.

Mutharika died while in office in April this year after suffering a heart attack.

The two want compensation from the government for “wrongful imprisonment.”

It’s not clear at this time how much they would want from the state.

As it were: Chilumpha (at top, second from right), and Yusuf Matumula (top right) iin their “wrongful arrest”. (Eldson Chagara, Reuters)

But a businessman-cum-politician Rashid Nembo was awarded K8.5 million in compensation by the court after he was wrongly accused in the matter.

Sources say Chilumpha and Matumula would discuss with Minister of Justice and Attorney General how best the matter can be resolved and how they can be compensated without involving the courts.

The case has dragged due to a number of factors, including several preliminary applications and a judicial review.

The country’s top prosecutor said “the nation will be informed accordingly when discussions are through.”

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ralph Kasambara is on record saying the case will be reviewed for “public interest.”

He said the Ministry of Justice chambers will consider “how much has been spent” to prosecute the case and “how has it been dragged so long.”

Kasambara, nonetheless, said the case will be irrelevant as the new President Joyce Banda would not be interested with the matter which was highly regarded as political vendetta by late Mutharika.

Government hired barrister Anthony Barry (QC) from Britain who is leading a prosecution team comprising seasoned lawyers Patrice Nkhono and Pacharo Kayira.

Key State witness in the case are 45-year-old Thomas Elias Ndlovu and Graham Minaar an intelligence expert were paid money from government to implicate Chilumpha.

Nyasa Times  first revealed a memorandum of understanding between the Malawian government and Minnaar and Ndlovu, signed in May 2006 in which the Mutharika administration promised to pay the two witnesses from the time they were identified in May 2006 until the case was concluded.

Ndlovu, who runs a security firm in South Africa, is on record testifying at the High Court that he was given R800, 000 for him and his family to relocate from his normal Johannesburg base in South Africa as part of government’s witness protection procedure.

C hilumpha was arrested after an alleged assassin turned over recordings of the plot to government.

But the Constitutional Court observed that the state had “violated his (Chilumpha’s) constitutional right to privacy by recording the tapes without Chilumpha’s knowledge or court order”.

They judges ordered that the state to compensate Chilumpha for this.

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