Malawi’s Constitutional Court has set February 21 2018 as the date it will deliver a ruling on the 11-year-old criminal case involving the former President Bakili Muluzi, on whether the case in which the State questions the former Head of State of K1.7 billion ($12 million) during his 1994-2004 presidency which was in his personal account should continue or fall off.
Muluzi, 74, and his former personal secretary, Lyness Whiskey, are answering the charges of corruption on the money which government alleged was public funds diverted to the former President’s personal account.
The funds were reportedly given to Muluzi directly from Taiwan, Morocco and Libya for the campaign of late Bingu wa Mutharika, his hand picked successor under United Democratic Front (UDF).
The former president has always said the charges were politically motivated.
In 2011, Muluzi’s lawyers applied to the Constitutional Court to determine the constitutionality of Section 32 of the Corrupt Practices Act, which puts the burden on the accused to prove their innocence against the general principle where the burden lies in the hands of the state.
If the Constitutional Court determination invalidates the section under contention, the corruption charges levelled against Muluzi will fall off—meaning no one can be prosecuted using such law, but where the court considers the section valid, Muluzi will stand trial and that the law will remain applicable as has been the case.
Three judges formed the panel of the Constitutional Court; Sylvester Kalembera, Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga and Dingiswayo Madise.
Both the Registrar for the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal, Agness Patemba and defense lawyer Tamando Chokhoto confirmed about the set date.
The lead prosecutor in the case, Reyneck Matemba, recused himself, citing personal reasons. He is now head of the graft-busting body Anti Corurption Bureau (ACB).
The trial opened in 2009 but has been subjected to several adjournments, partly because of Muluzi’s hospitalizations related to spinal problems. Both sides reject allegations that they have been deliberately delaying proceedings.
Local press reports indicate that the State had spent as much as $12 million on the case.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :