The Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe has on Monday made several rulings in favour of the second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera and also accepted t an application by first respondent President Peter Mutharika in the ongoing presidential elections petition case.
President Mutharika lawyers applied to court to cross-examine one of Chakwera’s witnesses, Richard Chapweteka, on a document in possession of second respondent, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) which he referred to.
The five-judge panel heard the applications last week and chair, Justice Healey Potani, making delivering the ruling on Monday accepted the request of Mutharika’s lawyers to access the packing list from MEC.
As such, Chapweteka will in the due course be recalled to the witness stand to be cross-examined by one of the lawyers representing the President, Frank Mbeta, on a checklist of electoral materials printed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Constitution Court also made its determination on Chakwera’s application to have his two witnesses—Peter Lackson and Anthony Bendulo—insert some documents in their sworn statements and make some changes in the statements.
The Concourt has granted the petition by lawyers for Chakwera to insert documents in the sworn statements of some of their witnesses as it indicated that it is not their to aim to punish parties because of innocent mistakes but rather their aim is to resolve the dispute that is there between parties.
This is opposed to what lawyers for Mutharika were advancing that any change in the statements would mean changing evidence.. They wanted lawyers for Chakwera not to be granted an opportunity to insert documents that were ommitted.
The court says that this case is very complex and it is possible that some documents might be ommitted by mistake.
The judges granted Chakwera’s witness, Peter Lackson,permission to ammend his sworn statement and also to insert carbonated tally sheets in view of the amendments.
In its ruling, the court also has granted Lackson permission to amend his sworn statement in relation to what he was responding to MEC CEO’s Sworn Statement.
But the court rejected the request by Lackson to amend one paragraph as this was observed to be not an innocent mistake but attempt to bring in new evidence.
The court has further granted Lackson permission to amend clerical errors in paragraph 15 of his sworn statement and to amend the introductory paragraph 18 of his Sworn Statement by introducing new statements.
In addition, he can amend some words that he might have used interchangeably;
The court has granted Lackson permission to amend exhibits as they are already on record.
However, the application for one of Chakwera’s witness Anthony Bendulo to amend his sworn statements by inserting new paragraphs and insert some documents like Form 60Csand 66Cs was rejected by the court.
The court observed that this was not a mistake but rather trying to bring new evidence.
Bendulo has also not be given permission to rely on documents that were submitted by MECs Hazel Munkhondia.
Chakwera and UTM president Saulos Chilima claim that results for the May 21 2019 presidential election were marred with irregularities and fraud and want them nullified. The two are also seeking a court’s order for a re-run.
MEC declared Mutharika as winner. The electoral petition case started on August 8 2019 and is expected to end by the end of the year with a ruling likely to be early next year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :