Businessperson Thom Mpinganjira has pleaded not guilty to corruption charge alleging he was attempted to bribe Constitution Court judges to rule in favour of former president Peter Mutharika in the presidential election case.
Mpinganjira appeared before High Court judge Dorothy DeGabrielle for plea in Blantyre .
He took the plea of ‘not guilty’ after Blantyre senior resident magistrate Simeon Mdeza committed the matter to High Court.
The High Court has since adjourned the case to August 19 after preliminary objections from Mpinganjira’s defence team led by Patrice Nkhono, assisted by Fostino Maere and Tamanda Chokhotho.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba said in court, the defence applied that the case be shifted from the High Court to the lower court, the resident magistrate’s court.
“We have opposed this. We have the reasons why we wanted this case to be heard in the High Court. The magistrate’s court already committed this case to the upper court,” he said.
Matemba said his office and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions have the Constitutional powers to decide where a case can be heard.
The defence lawyers argue that the High Court is the same as the Constitutional Court as the High Court judges sit in the Constitutional Court therefore Mpinganjira would not get a fair trial.
ACB director who is leading the prosecution also dismissed defence argument that one of their lawyers Chokhotho was not available as he was tied with another matter, saying that the defendant has three lawyers and two were available.
In January this year, ACB arrested Mpinganjira after Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda complained to the bureau that a business person and a public servant wanted to bribe the five judges who presided over the 2019 presidential election case.
The banker, who is currently on bail, is answering charges related to attempting to induce High Court judges Mike Tembo and Healey Potani to exercise their functions corruptly by offering K100 million.
He is also being accused of attempting to induce a public officer to abuse his office by attempting to persuade Tembo and Potani to accept the bribe and rule the election case in favour of former president Peter Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission who were the respondents in the case.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :