Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has petitioned Anti Corruption Bueau (ACB) to investigate the five judges of the High Court who annulled the results of last year’s presidential election, alleging that South Africa-based Malawian construction industry mogul Ashan Simbi Phiri could have bribed them to cancel President Peter Mutharika’s re-election.
President Mutharika of DPP was narrowly re-elected in the May 2019 election after securing 38% of the vote when tally sheets arrived at a central vote-counting station having been altered with Tipp-Ex, a correction fluid . Runner-up Lazarus Chakwera secured 35% of the vote while former vice president Saulos Chilima came in third with 20%.
The two opposition candidates challenged the result, alleging that the tally sheets were tampered with and that some polling stations used correction fluid to alter the results.
Chaired by Justice Healey Potani, the judges; Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo and Redson Kapindu, overturned the presidential result and ordered a fresh election to be held by 2 July this year under a 50-plus-one majority electoral system.
But DPP on Monday organised and sponsored demonstration in Blantyre City – held peacefully – presented a 10-point petition delivered to Blantyre City Council Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alfred Chanza demanding an investigation of the five judges on alleged corruption with sponsored banners naming Simbi as well as claiming one of the judges is a relation to the first petitioner Chilima.
Businessman Simbi Phiri, who is at the centre of a controversy for being awarded a multimillion kwacha water project, has never hidden that he has been supporting DPP and major opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Phiri’s company, Khato Holdings Limited, was awarded a $500 million (about K400 billion) project to construct a pipeline supplying water from Lake Malawi to Lilongwe, which has come under intense scrutiny.
But now DPP claims Simbi may have bribed the judges.
Simbi has not commented on the allegations,saying he is consulting his lawyers to sue DPP, leaders of the demonstrations, the bearer of the placard for defamation.
The judges already to have reported attempted bribery from associates of DPP.
ACB boss Reyneck Matemba on January 20 2020 announced that the bureau had received a letter from Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda containing allegations of attempted bribery of the Constitution Court.
On January 22, ACB arrested Thomson Mpinganjira, owner of FDH Bank, who is seen as close to the DPP , and he has since been charged with three counts in relation to the alleged judge bribery attempt and is out on bail.
DPP claim the Chief Justice was also presented with evidence that the opposition MCP and UTM tried to bribe the court using Simbi.
According to the petition, DPP Secretary General, Grezelder Jeffrey, the party is asking for “authorities to safeguard and restore the democratic justice which is under threat.”
In the petition, DPP seeks legal redress on 10 concerns including high level of hypocrisy by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) by nullifying the results, no evidence by ConCourt on use of tippex and tampering of tally sheets affecting the results,
No evidence by ConCourt on unauthorized persons found with ballot paper, lies by United Transformation Party (UTM) on arrest of persons and monitors and failure to transport ballot papers with security personnel as well as allegation of forged signatures on results sheets, according to the petition.
Jeffrey was flanked by former cabinet minister Henry Mussa, veteran politican Brown Mpinganjira whose name features highly in the attempted bribery of the judges, presidential aide Francis Mphepo when she presented the petition.
Speaking to party supporters, Mussa said they have “evidence which can be tendered to authorities that some judges of the ConCourt “received bribes and were involved in corrupt dealings in order to bend the judgment in favour of the petitioners.”
Mussa said: “ We demand a probe on the alleged family relations between some judges and the petitioners. As DPP, we can verifiably identify family links between Saulos Chilima and Justice Dingiswayo Madise. We therefore demand for the panel of judges to be investigated to remove any perception that judges are either sympathizers of opposition politics or worked and succumbed to pressure from violent demonstrators.”
Speaking after receiving the petition from DPP, Chanza promised to deliver the petition to the Chief Justice.
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