Lawyers for former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda and Transglobe’s Director Rashid Tayub in the corruption-related case on Monday described oral submissions by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) as lacking substance and full of contradictions.
ACB arrested Chaponda, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president for Southern Region, last year alongside Tayub for suspected corrupt acts in the maize procurement transaction.
Chaponda is answering three charges out of the four which include giving false information to ACB, influencing a public officer to misuse his position and possession of foreign currency while Tayub is answering to the charge of persuading a public officer to misuse his position. They both pleaded not guilty.
The State had time for oral submissions before Zomba Senior Resident Magistrate Paul Chiotcha makes a ruling of case or no case to answer.
This was after lead prosecutor MacMillan Chakhala had told the court that he believes the State had made out a case.
Chakhala said “we are faced with a made up defence specifically for a particular charge.”
He accused the defence of skirting around the actual charge of “attempt to instruct Admarc CEO Foster Mulumbe to offer a contract to supply maize” but instead dwelled much on the basis that he didn’t instruct.
Chakhala further told the court that the relationship between Chaponda and Tayub was that of a person trying to build a relationship with prominent people.
“Tayub is a person who was building a good relationship with the Minister even if the flour donation was made before he was appointed Agriculture minister,” said Chakhala.
On the foreign currency permit issued by Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe, Chakhala said the court should look at the wording of it
“The wording was that the permit was given to Dr George Chaponda, MP and Minister of Agriculture. That, the court should critically look into it,” he said
In signing off, Chakhala said there was enough evidence that Tayub tried his best to persuade Mulumbe for a contract.
“The court should trace the steps that the accused took to achieve what he wanted. Thats why at the end of the day, he got the contract.”
However, lawyer for Chaponda, Tamando Chokhotho, described the submissions as not worth much.
“We believe the court cannot be swayed by those arguments. They lacked substance and were toyed strongly to contradict their own witnesses,” he said.
Chokhotho said they are of the view that the court will base it’s ruling on what the witnesses said.
His counterpart Jai Banda lawyer for Tayub said the prosecution had failed to establish a case against his the Transglobe director.
“Whatever happened, there was no persuading,” he said.
The case has been adjourned to May 18 when the judge is expected to make its ruling.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :