A court case involving four Fisd Limited Company directors failed to commence Tuesday in Lilongwe as the presiding magistrate, senior resident magistrate Shyreen Chirwa, has reportedly been transferred to the industrial relations court.
Both Fisd lawyer Gift Nankhuni and state prosecutor Levi Mangani confirmed the development, saying they are now waiting to appear before a new magistrate.
Nankhuni actually added that the state “had not yet even” submitted formal charge sheets against the Fisd directors by Tuesday as ordered by senior resident magistrate Chirwa on 5 March.
The four Fisd directors, namely; Moses Chirambo, Frank Mwenechanya, Kondwani Namchukwa and Aurther Mpama–were arrested in November last year on allegations of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, uttering false documents, theft by public servant, obtaining money by false presence and money laundering.
Apparently, when the four appeared before the court on 5 March–which was their third “unfruitful” appearance since their arrest–the state had asked for 30 more days in order to “wind up” investigations.
But in an interview with Nyasa Times onTuesday, Nankhuni condemned the manner in which the State is handling the case, reiterating that the delays are affecting the business of his clients.
He said he is “eagerly” looking forward to the new magistrate to whom he will “promptly” apply for “outright” dismissal of the case because the state “is not serious and ready to prosecute the case”.
“We are just waiting for the appointment of the new magistrate for he or she is the one who will tell us when court would sit again. We will apply for dismissal of the case once hearing commences under the new magistrate,” said Nankhuni.
Mangani refused to comment on why the state “had not yet even” submitted formal charge sheets, saying he is “only answerable to the court”.
“We are waiting for allocation of the case to another magistrate. The case will be appearing before another magistrate,” he said before cutting the call.
Upon their appearance in court on 5 March, the Fisd directors case had been adjourned before twice because, according to Nankhuni, the state never turned up.
The arrest of the four Fisd directors came on the back of a protracted legal wrangle in the High Court of Malawi Commercial Division between Fisd Limited and government and the African Development Bank (AFDB) on the management of a water supply project contract Fisd was awarded in Ntcheu.
After their arrest last year, the Fisd directors were remanded to Maula prison for five days until their bails were granted on November 13, 2020.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :