Lawyer representing former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has expressed his desire for a speedy trial, saying the corruption-related case of the controversial procurement of maize from Zambia should be finalised with no further postponements.
The State on asked for the adjournment, citing that some of its prosecution witnesses were members of parliament (MPs) who were currently meeting in Lilongwe while some was in Indian and would only be available in December.
But Jai Banda, a member of the defence legal team, said further delays of the proceedings is “unacceptable” as it is affecting political career of Chaponda and business of Rashid Tayub.
Chaponda is a Parliamentarian for Mulanje South West and also governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President for the South.
The lawyer told the court that Chaponda’s “political career is at stake.”
On Tayub, Banda said: “The case has affected business of Transglobe both locally an internationally.”
The lawyer said the concern from his clients is “to have the matter finalised as quickly as possible because they would want to be vindicated.”
One of the defence alweyers Madalo Banda accused the State , represented by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), of “unjustifiable and inexcusable” delays.
State Counsel Macmillan Chakhala said the defence was just making “ a mountain out of a mound.”
Chaponda is answering three charges out of the four which include giving false information to the graft-busting body, influencing a public officer to misuse his position and possession of foreign currency.
Tayub of Transglobe Produce Export Limited is answering one of the charges which is persuading a public officer to misuse his position.
The Bureau arrested Chaponda, Rashid Tayub and Grace Mijiga Mhango for their involvement in the procurement of maize from Zambia by Admarc.
The ACB had received a complaint alleging that procurement procedures were not followed in the maize deal.
The graft bursting body netted the three in July this year after establishing that offences were committed in the maize procurement deal.
While Mijiga Mhango was charged with forgery, contrary to Section 351of the Penal Code.
Chaponda and Tayub pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecution has indicated it would parade 22 witnesses to testify in the case.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :