Defence lawyers in Nocma fuel deals case ask court to discharge Kambala, other suspects

Former Energy Minister Newton Kambala and two others in the infamous Nocma corruption case on Thursday moved a court in Lilongwe to discharge the case due to what they said lack of seriousness by ACB.
Chris Chaima Banda, former presidential adviser on strategy and Enock Chihana, President for Alliance for Democracy asked for Lilongwe Chief Magistrate Court to discharge the case on their alleged attempt to influence contracts at National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma).

Lawyers ready to defeat ACB
The three were arrested by Anti-Corruption Bureau on 9th August 2021 on suspicion they wanted to play a role for Hellen Buluma, former Deputy Chief Executive Officer for NOCMA to award contracts to Orxy, Finergy and Trafigura.
On Thursday, Kambala, Banda and Chihana appeared before the court for directions of the hearing on the case.
Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Madalitso Khoswe Chimwaza has asked ACB to make their written response submissions on application to discharge the three by 22 June.
Chimwaza has further given defence up to 26 June to file their submissions and that ruling on the application will be made on 30th June 2023.
George Mtchuka Mwale, one of the defence lawyers said they want the three accused persons be discharged following lack of seriousness by the ACB to prosecute the matter.
But Peter Simbani one of lawyers for ACB has said they are ready and that they will be making all needed submissions for the trial to proceed.
Simbani said he was not competent enough to respond to concerns raised by the defence as the case is being handled by ACB Director General Martha Chizuma and other lawyers.
According to Mwale, the Defense team has been filing notices for ‘mention’ and ACB has not been showing seriousness to have the case return to court.
He said the defense was not supposed to be filing the notices while the Prosecution team (ACB) just sits back.
Mwale also told the court that the defense team was informally informed of the change of presiding Magistrate.
Initially, the case was being heard by Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa (now High Court Judge) and is now being heard by sitting Chief Resident Magistrate Madalitso Khoswe Chimwaza.
ACB Director General Martha Chizuma, who was earlier in the case leading the Prosecution team, was not in the Court today.
Another defence lawyer Bright Theu said the ACB has failed to prosecute the case and that this is a mockery of the rule of law.
According to Theu, ACB has shown inability and unwillingness to procure prosecution of the accused persons.
Theu said it is sad to see ACB just sitting back and relaxing on this case while the accused persons cannot do their businesses or travel freely.
He said the fact that Chizuma, lawyers Chrispin Khunga and Imran Saidi were not present in court, shows a massive lack of seriousness on the part of the prosecution team.
He said despite being served the notice of mention on 10th May this year, Chizuma and her team have failed to show up in court without even giving reasons.
“This should tell us that they are not serious and they lack willingness to prosecute this case,” he has said.
He has said this is the reason they are calling for discharge of the accused.
Chief Resident Magistrate Madalitso Khoswe Chimwaza has agreed with the concerns raised by the defense.
However, to level the playing field, she has given an opportunity to ACB to respond on issues raised.
Another Defense lawyer Wapona Kita agreed with Theu, saying ACB was indeed unable to prosecute the case as seen by their lack of seriousness to have the case return to court.

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