The High Court in Blantyre has demanded evidence of former president Bakili Muluzi’s Commonwealth involvement after his attorney informed the court to that the former Malawi president will from months of July and will be engaged on Commonwealth activities.
Lawyer Tamanda Chokhotho, who is the lead counsel for Muluzi, informed the High Court that Muluzi will be away from July and August.
He asked that the former president be allowed to miss court sessions and only be required to appear in court when there is an assurance of a hearing.
Chokhotho pointed out that Muluzi has been “faithfully coming to the court”.
Judge Maclean Kamwambe demanded evidence of Muluzi’s Commonwealth engagement by Thursday afternoon.
Clement Mwala, who has since been re-engaged to continue prosecuting the case after lead prosecutor Reyneck Matemba recused himself from the case on personal grounds, asked the court for 30 days to “make arrangements” with witnesses to appear in court and “review” some of the counts.
Mwala said he was informed by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) director Lucas Kondowe to review the counts in the K1.7 billion corruption trial.
“Due to passage of time, availability of some witnesses on some counts cannot be guaranteed. As such we pray for adjournment to such a time that will afford us the opportunity to make arrangements with our witnesses as well as undertake the review so that at the next hearing we do not have issues to disturb the flow of the case,” Mwala told the court.
The case has been running since 2009 and trial resumed on April 2016.
Muluzi and his former personal assistant Violet Whiskey are accused of misappropriating $11 million (about K7.6 billion at present exchange rate, but the court is quoting the 2005 value of K1.7 billion) in public funds, when Muluzi was in power between 1994 and 2004.
The defence argued that in investigating Muluzi, the State deliberately excluded other sources of income such as Ntaja Trading and Distributors which was making a monthly turnover of more than K1 billion, Keza Properties and Atupele Properties.
Muluzi’s lawyers also argued that the witness had no reasonable suspicion that the money was corruptly acquired.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and his co-accused, also denies the charges. Whisky is accused of aiding and abetting Muluzi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :