Lilongwe magistrate Shyreen Chirwa has refused to recuse herself from former CEO for Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Collins Magalasi criminal trial, she announced in court Friday.
Magalasi is charged with abuse of office and fraud.
He is accused of abusing the authority of his office. He allegedly paid K10.5 million as accommodation for former ruling DPP officials at Kanjedza Lodge, Oasis Hotel and Heritage Serendib between July and August 2018.
Lawyer Andrew Kaonga representing Magalasi asked the presiding magistrate Chirwa to opt out of the case for alleged bias by among others, refusing the defence lawyer an adjournment on health grounds.
However, the director of public prosecution Steven Kayuni who is leading the State argued that the defence “is just full of imaginations” and just wants to buy more time.
But dismissed the application for recusal. saying it was more untenable to suggest there is an appearance of bias as such allegations were without evidence.
After that, Magalasi in the dock was expected to take plea to the charges but asked court for more time to be guided by his lawyer the legal clarity of his charges.
“I am an economists and not a legal person and I do not understand some of the terms of the charges,” said Magalasi.
“For example, what does ‘abuse of office’ mean?” he asked.
Chirwa granted Magalasi his wishes and set Monday next week as the date he would enter his plea in the case.