The High Court has thrown out an application to suspend the hearing of the infamous K2.4 billion Cashgate pending determination by the Supreme Court of Appeal on whether the lower court has powers to hear the case or not.
Judge Esmie Chombo has since set June 15 as the beginning of the trial of the case.
This was after Chombo found former Budget director Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others with a case to answer of embezzling the public money at Capital Hill seven years ago during the reign of former president Joyce Banda.
“The hearing of the case will continue even if the appeal might be heard at the Supreme Court,” she said.
The cashgate suspects applied to the High Court for a stay order to postpone the hearing of the case in the High Court soon after the court found them with a case to answer in the high profile K2.4 billion plunder of public resources.
The lawyers wanted the Supreme Court to rule whether the High Court is the right jurisdiction to hear the case.
“May we stay these proceedings and wair for Supreme Court of appeal ruling,” said lawyer Andy Kawonga representing the defendants.
But director of Public Prosecutions Mary Kachale has told Judge Esmie Chombo to throw out the application describing it as “delaying tactics” so that the suspects remain on temporary freedom.
One of the suspects, who was not represented by a lawyer asked the court to explain the ruling to him, saying he did not understand it while another one asked the judge why she made the ruling based on the group instead of focusing on each suspect.
Judge Chombo has since set a two weeks trial starting from June 15, saying if the fresh presidential elections in no ton June 23 the case shall proceed the whole of the week up to June 26 200.
Should there be elections on June 23, the judge said the trial will move the week after beginning June 29.
Mphwiyo is the most high profile face in the K2.4 billion trial that also has former Accountant General David Kandoje, Steven Phiri, George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda, Andrews Chilalika, Auzius Kazombo-Mwale, Clemence Madzi and Roosevelt Ndovi.
Others are businessperson Stanford Mpoola, Fatch Chungano, Symphathy Chisale, Cecilia Ng’ambi, Stanley Mtambo, Gerald Magareta Phiri and Ndaona Satema.
Businessperson Limumba Karim, who jumped bail and is a fugitive in South Africa will be extradited to face the trial in Malawi.
One of the suspect, Maxwell Namata died.
They were charged with conspiracy to defraud government, holding property belonging to government, theft, money laundering, fraudulently issuing 24 cheques worth K2.4 billion, abuse of public office and usage of proceeds of crime.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :