The Lilongwe Principal Resident Magestrate Viva Nyimba has nullified bail conditions for former cabinet ministers Simon Vuwa Kaunda, Charles Mchacha, former Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara and former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence Bright Kumwembe, noting that it is wrong start hearing the case without written approval from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Nyimba withdrew the bail conditions for the accused because more than 14 days have passed without the consent from DPP.
He agreed with defence that currently there is no DPP as such the case could not proceed without the consent from DPP, Steve Kayuni, who is yet to be confirmed by the Public Appointment Committee of Parliament.
Nyimba has also said the case cannot be committed to the High Court and ordered the state to file new charge sheet for offense under Penal Code, including those bordering on use of insulting words and neglect of public office.
The case has been adjourned to 2nd February 2021 and it is expected that the ACB will amend the charge sheet for the four accused.
Reacting to the ruling ACB lawyer Victor Chiwala expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling.
“We did not agree with court that we scrap the charges because some of the accused are answering cases that do not require DPP’s consent”, he said.
The suspects were arrested in December 2020 in connection to illegal sale land in Kanjedza Forest in Blantyre and were released on conditional bail by Nyimba.
Mchacha faced four charges; inducing public officers to corruptly use the office, use of insulting words against a journalist who was investigating the matter, among others.
Kumwembe was charged with neglect of duty and giving false information in relation to the illegal purchase of the land in question.