Malawi government has asked to free former Vice President Cassim Chilumpha, who is facing the treason charges together with politician Yusuf Matumula, for allegedly plotting to assassinate late president Bingu wa Mutharika, after the case has stalled.
The government has also been asked to speed the wheels of justice in the the trial of former ministers of Friday Jumbe (Finance) and Phillip Bwanali (Sports Culture), who were implicated in the theft of K11 million from the Ministry of Sports in 2004.
In a media statement, opposition Peoples Party (PP) spokesman Ken Msonda accused government of “failing to conclude” the Chilumpha treason case.
Chilumpha was arrested after an alleged assassin turned over recordings of the plot to government.
But the opposition party has expressed concern that the stalling of the trial is a gross breach of the accused person’s right to a speedy, fair and due process of justice.
Chilumpha and Matumula were arrested in 2006 on allegations that they were planning to assassinate former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, using hired assassins from South Africa.
The case has dragged on for nine years although government then said it had overwhelming evidence against the two.
Malawi Government has since blown at least K200 million (US$487 804) of public tax to pay a British lawyer Antony Berry and Malawians are continuing to pay legal fees and other claims
Berry is the Queen’s Counsel (QC) in the UK. He is leading a prosecution team comprising seasoned lawyers Patrice Nkhono and Pacharo Kayira.
The money spent on the lawyer is enough to buy over 100 ventilators which are in short supply in the country’s main hospitals. Ventilators are used to assist patients with breathing problems.
The case has dragged on although government then said it had overwhelming evidence against the two and that it would take them to court for a fair and open trial.
Many people in the country believed the government would prosecute the accused persons without undue delays.
But critics claim the case was trumped up for political reasons Chilumpha and the late Mutharika fell out in 2005 after the former president left United Democratic Front (UDF), a party that sponsored him into power in 2004, to form DPP. Chilumpha remained in UDF until he joined People’s Party (PP) in 2012 and later dumped it.
Key State witness in the case are 45-year-old Thomas Elias Ndlovu and Graham Minaar an intelligence expert were paid money from government to implicate Chilumpha.
Ndlovu, who runs a security firm in South Africa, is on record testifying at the High Court that he was given R800, 000 for him and his family to relocate from his normal Johannesburg base in South Africa as part of government’s witness protection procedure.
Chilumpha, who has served as Member of Parliament for Nkhotakota South for close to 20 years now, is seen as a man who leads a quiet and isolated life.
Meanwhile, PP is asking government to conclude also the case of two former ministers Jumbe and Bwanli charged alongside a chairperson of the Sports and Culture Trust Fund, Vincent Mpaluko.
The three were found with a case to answer on charges ranging from theft by a public servant, misuse of office and gross negligence by a public officer to obtaining money by false pretence.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said has outsourced the prosecution of the case to G.D Liwimbi and Partners who have put lawyer Gabriel Chembezi on the case and that the matter will make progress soon.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :