The High Court in Blantyre has acquitted Principal Resident Magistrates Zondi Mvula, politician Rashid Gaffa and soccer agent Kondi Msungama on the accusations that they tried to extort K5 million from a businessman Ramish M Patel.
The three were arrested last year on allegations that they conspired to defraud and extort K5 million from Patel in order to stop an execution of Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) warrant of arrest issued against Patel.
They were charged with six counts of corruption, extortion, abuse of office, conspiracy to defraud and aiding and bating.
But making his ruling on Thursday morning in the High Court Blantyre, Judge Godffrey Mwase acquitted the three on the all six charges, arguing that the State has failed to prove a case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
“Going by the evidence paraded in this court, it’s clear there was no warrant of arrest issued against the said persons. The State has also failed to prove a case against the accused and they are hereby acquitted. All the bonds involved in this case are therefore set aside,” said Mwase in his determination.
Dismissal of Charges
Mwase dismissed the charge of conspiracy to defraud, arguing that it was unfair for the accused to be charged with conspiracy to defraud while at same time being charged with extortion.
On extortion, the judge said the testimony and evidence provided by the principal witness in the case (Patel) had failed to prove that indeed the three had conspired to defraud and late alone extort K5 million from him when it was proven that there was no warrant of arrest issued by ACB.
The judge also said Patel and the State had failed to prove that there was indeed communication between two parties that suggest that any corrupt practice had taken place.
He further noted that it was not proven that there was any meeting between Patel and the accused to justify that Kondi Msungama and Rashid Gaffa were acting as middlemen for Mvula to extort money from Patel.
“The charge of aiding and baiting has failed to be proven substantially,” noted the Judge.
“ There was no extortion and the State has failed to prove the allegations against the accused. It’s not clear if Mvula had hired middlemen to extort money from the principal witness. The identities and descriptions tendered in this court failed to match those of the said accused.
“And the principal witness has failed to prove that there was indeed meetings and communication between him and the accused that suggest that any aiding and baiting or plans to defraud or extort were made,” Mwase said.
The judge then quashed the charges and acquitted the three to the joy of their family and relatives.
The court was filled with joy and embraces as the three run into the arms of their loved one as well as other lawyers who attended the ruling.
“I am happy because today am free man. Free like a bird. I have my freedom now,” said Msungama expressing his joy over the court ruling.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :