Lead prosecutor in the ongoing ‘K1.7 billion’ ($2.5 million) corruption case involving former president Bakili Muluzi have withdrawn from the high profile case, prompting the defence to ask Judge Maclean Kamwambi to discharge Muluzi using section 247 (1) of the of the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Code and Section 11 (c) of the Courts Act.
The surprise turn of events happened when the court met Thursday at the High Court in Blantyre.
Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director Reyneck Matemba who is the lead prosecutor asked Judge Kamwambe to stand aside from the case just as the court session was to start.
His opting out leaves Imran Saidi as the only state lawyer as Clement Mwala’s contract which expired last week has not been renewed.
Since trial resumed on April 11 2016 over K100 million has been deducted from the K1.7 billion Muluzi and his co-accused, Lyness Violet Whiskey, are accused to have fraudulently acquired.
Whiskey is a former personal assistant to Muluzi and was handling bank transactions like deposits of the former president when he was in power.
Government initially claimed Muluzi’s corruption case stemmed from donor money in his account but former president has always denied wrong doing saying no foreign country would deposit donor money in a personal account.
He claimed the case was trumped up for political reasons.
Since the nine-year-old case resumed on April 11 2016, the defence expressed optimism that the figures will be deducted to zero from the K1.7 billion.
After prosecutors asked to quit the case, apparently due to lack of objective material evidence, Judge Kamwambe went ahead and granted them the application, signalling that the state has abandoned the case.
Judge Kamwambe pointed out that the state prosecution “ is in total disarray in this case.”
“Before I make my own opinion on the matter let me ask the defence the application it wants to make,” he said.
Tamando Chokotho private practise lawyer for the former president Muluzi applied to the same court to discharge Muluzi and his co-accused Whiskey.
Chokhotho said the Criminal case number 1 of 2009 is facing with a blow seven years down the line “where the future of the matter is uncertain.”
He said Muluzi and his co-accused have been facing “normal ostracism” from the society because of the case but they have all been ermined to vindicate themselves through the courts from any wrong doing.
However, the judge said he would make the ruling another day but asked for state to be heard om May 12.
Chokotho said it was senseless to proceed with the case when the state had abandoned the case.
Muluzi governed Malawi from 1994 to 2004 when his term expired.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :