High Court judge Dorothy DeGabrielle has indicated that she wants an expedited trial of case in which businessperson Thom Mpinganjira is accused of attempting to bribe Constitution Court judges to rule in favour of former president Peter Mutharika in then presidential election case.
The matter went to court on Tuesday via Zoom video call conference as a Covid-19 precautionary measure.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba said they are ready to prosecute the case on fast-track and that they have submitted all the documents and the disclosures to the defence.
“ACB is ready on the case,” said Matemba.
Matemba said the five judges—Healey Potani, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu, Ivy Kamanga and Mike Tembo—will testify in court alongside four investigators from the graft-busting body.
“We have discussed. The court has heard about preparedness of the case. We explained that our disclosures are ready and we will file to court and defence today a list of documents we will rely on in court,” he said.
The judge said it was critical to move forward with the case and wanted Mpinganjira to take plea within seven days and trial to commence.
Defence lawyers could not commit for court attendance in a week as one of their colleagues had contracted coronavirus and they want to isolate for 14 to 21 days.
A date of July 28 which was proposed could not work as one of Mpinganjira’s lawyers, Patrice Nkhono said he had another matter on the same day in court.
Then July 29 was said to be convenient for all parties.
The trial is said to be concluded before year end.
Mpinganjira denies any wrong doing and his lawyer stressed that “anyone charged with any crime is presumed innocent until proven otherwise by a competent court of law.”
Nkhono said: “Disclosures by the State are, of course, required in order to help the defence prepare for hearing.”
In January this year, ACB arrested Mpinganjira after Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda complained to the bureau that a business person and a public servant wanted to bribe the five judges who presided over the 2019 presidential election case.
The banker, who is currently on bail, is answering charges related to attempting to induce High Court judges Mike Tembo and Healey Potani to exercise their functions corruptly by offering K100 million.
He is also being accused of attempting to induce a public officer to abuse his office by attempting to persuade Tembo and Potani to accept the bribe and rule the election case in favour of former president Peter Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission who were the respondents in the case.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :