Defence lawyers in the Maizegate case involving Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice- president George Chaponda and businessperson Rashid Tayub again accused the State of employing delaying tactics to stall proceedings after prosecutors dodged the oral submissions before the Zomba Senior Magistrate court on Friday.
This was the second time when the prosecution has asked the court for further time to have their submissions heard before Senior Resident Magistrate Paul Chiotcha.
Actually, the oral submissions were slated for April 9 but the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) asked the court for more time and they were granted the date of April 20.
State counsel Macmillan Chakhala said then that they were compelled to file the application because they wanted more time to respond to the first accused (Chaponda’s) written submissions of no case to answer.
However, on Friday after the defence lawyers, Tamando Chokhotho, Jai Banda and Lusungu Gondwe had done their part, the prosecution asked for an adjournment again as Chakhala rsaid he had classes to attend to.
This did not go well with the defence.
“If the State wants school to take precedence over the court, then I plead that the court should make its determination on the issue. The state has two abled counsels, if one is busy then the other one can come in with oral submissions,” said Chokhotho, counsel for Chaponda.
He added that, “at first, the state applied to the court without consulting us to adjourn the case from April 9 to today (April 20), now we have done our part and we wonder why counsel is also applying for an adjournment.”
Banda, counsel for Tayub wondered why the State has been dragging the case all along.
The counsel observed that Chaponda and Tayub would want to see the case concluded as quickly as possible because it was affecting them in various ways.
“My client’s wish had been to see this case off as soon as possible. He wanted even if it had ended yesterday because it is affecting his business, now we don’t want more adjournments,” said Banda.
Magistrate Chiotcha adjoured the case to April 27 with the ruling of case for no case to answer on May 18.
Chaponda, who was fired from President Peter Mutharika’s Cabinet, is answering three charges, including giving false information to ACB, influencing a public officer to misuse his position and possession of foreign currency while Tayub has one charge of persuading a public officer to misuse his position.
They both deny the charges.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :