Blantyre Magistrate Court has set October 22 when it will start the prosecution trial of former Minister of Information and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati on corruption allegations and abuse of office.
Kaliati, two of her accomplices, Oscar Maganga, former Ministry of Education assistant chief education officer and Clement Nkuya, her brother appeared before the court on Tuesday.
They could not enter plea as their lawyers submitted preliminary objections on the drafting of charges by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Kaliati, a senior member of opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) alongside her brother Clement Nkuya, have been charged with influencing or inducing a public officer to abuse office contrary to Section 25B (2) of the Corruption Practices Act (CPA).
The ACB accuses Kaliati of influencing the admission of 76 pupils to Phalombe, Mulanje, Thyolo, Luchenza and Chiradzulu secondary schools as a campaign tool to win votes in the 2009 parliamentary elections.
Maganga faces five counts of abuse of office but his lawyer Oswald Mtupila submitted to court that the charge is defective because it has multiplicity of counts.
“Any offences whether felonies or misdemeanour, may be charged together if the offences charged are founded on the same facts or form or are part of a series of offences of the same or similar character.
“All the [five] counts relate to abuse of office arising out of one and same transaction and also alleged to have been committed at same place and same occasion. They are in form and nature one and same offence,” reads the written preliminary objections.
Kaliati’s lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale argued that the charge sheet indicated that all the 77 pupils were admitted in Form One, but the ACB submissions indicate that the pupils were admitted in other classes other than Form One only.
Blantyre chief resident magistrate Thom Ligowe adjourned the matter to October 22 to allow ACB amend the charges and then trial can start.
ACB launched an investigation in 2009 ACB -and strongly concluded that the Kaliati may have committed offences under the Corrupt Practices Act.
The ACB investigation report says: “Hon. Kaliati was corruptly using the admission of boys and girls from her constituency to secondary schools in Shire Highlands Education Division in order to win votes from the electorates during the 19 May 2009 general elections, contrary to Section 26 (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
The section reads: “Any person who by himself, or by or in conjunction with any other person, corruptly gives, promises or offers any advantage to any person, whether for the benefit of that person or of any other person, as an inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do, or for having done or forborne to do, anything in relation to any matter or transaction, actual or proposed, with which any private body is or may be concerned shall be guilty of an offence.”
According to published reports most of the pupils that Kaliati allegedly pushed into secondary schools actually failed PSLC and were, therefore, not eligible for the placesFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :