Judge Kamanga recuses from Mutharika’s treason case: Judge Chombo takes over

Judge Ivy Kamanga of High Court Lilongwe registry said she did not want to hear the treason case involving the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika and the ‘midnight six’ anymore and directed the matter be placed before another Judge for further hearing.

The defence team accepted that Judge Kamanga be recused from the case.

Speaking outside the court after the hearing, which was held in closed doors, lead lawyer of the defence team Kalekeni Kaphale, disclosed the case is now under Judge Esme Chombo.

“The court has directed that Judge Chombo should summon both parties within 14 days to map the way forward,” he said.

Unlike last week when the court premises were full of DPP supporters, business was normal this time around with no supporters.

Justice Kamanga : Steps aside
Justice Kamanga : Steps aside

The specific reasons for the request were that in January 2012, she was a member of a three-judge panel which was sitting over a presidential referral case in which former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, through his then adviser on legal affairs, Allan Ntata, sought interpretation of Section 84 of the Constitution on whether the then vice-president Joyce Banda had constructively resigned by forming her own party, the now ruling People’s Party (PP).

“With that background, I ask counsels whether I can proceed with this matter. During the period under trial now [illness and death of the late Mutharika], my registrar asked me to be on stand-by because some had the intention to move the court on the state of affairs at the time.”

Kamanga also declared her personal relationship with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ephraim Mganda Chiume who is a material witness in one of the charges of giving false information against Peter Mutharika,  Goodall Gondwe and Bright  Msaka.

Further to that, the judge said her children are also friends with children of defendants Patricia Kaliati and Msaka.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba said the state has no problem with the judge recusing herself from the case saying she might as well end up to be a witness.

The case

Mutharika, former Cabinet ministers Goodall Gondwe, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Patricia Kaliati and Jean Kalirani; former chief secretary to the government Bright Msaka; former deputy ministers Kondwani Nankhumwa and Nicholas Dausi and former deputy chief secretary to the government Necton Mhura appeared on Thursday at the High Court in Lilongwe before Justice Ivy Kamanga.

They are being accused of attempting to overthrow the government in 2012.

Among others, Mutharika and the other accused are being suspected that they solicited and incited the Malawi Defence Force through General Henry Odillo to take over the lawfully constituted state.

The state is also suspecting that the accused tried to conceal the death of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika to facillitate the take over of the leadership.

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