Muluzi case adjourned to October 8

The High Court in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre, on Tuesday adjourned the ongoing corruption case involving former president Bakili Muluzi to October 8 to 26 .

The former president has been accused of misappropriating about $11millionof funds from Taiwan, Morocco and Libya.

Muluzi denies the charges – and has always said they were linked to his dispute with late Bingu wa Mutharika who became president in 2004 after he stood down.

The former president  was arrested in 2005 on charges of corruption, but the trial has been previously delayed because of political interference by the Mutharika regime as well as the former leader’s ill health.

Muluzi: Denies the charges. Photo credit- Getty Images.

Initially, the case was supposed to continue on Monday July 9 but had to be postponed to Tuesday.

Muluzi ready for trial

During the brief hearing both the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)and Muluzi’s defence team agreed to have the case adjourned.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Bruno Kalemba told the court that the State is not ready with the case. But ACB prosecutors said they were prepared to proceed.

Kalemba also told the court the prosecution team will be reshuffled.

Among other things, the commencement of the trial has also been affected by the arrest of  ACB boss Alex Nampota who has been slapped with a charge of  abuse of office at the graft busting body.

Muluzi’s leading attorney, Kalekeni  Kaphale told Nyasa Times that the defence team is prepared for the trial which he confirmed is resuming on October 8.

“The trial resumes on 8th to 26th October this year. That is the date the court set and we all agreed to it,” said Kaphale in an interview.

Victim of political vendetta

The Mutharika regime used the graft trial to silence Muluzi especially in the run up to the 2009 polls when the former president fought so hard to unseat his former ally by endorsing and vigorously campaigning for veteran politician John Tembo.

The former president, who has been claiming to be a victim of a political vendetta by the DPP regime,   is demanding compensation from government for false imprisonment, physical inconvenience and defamation for his arrest in May 2008 in connection with an alleged treason case.

Muluzi has accused the late  Mutharika government of defamation and false arrest and imprisonment over the plot allegedly hatched by DPP.

Kaphale, one of the country’s leading attorneys , wrote  the attorney general seeking unspecified compensation.

Muluzi was arrested on his return from a British holiday in 2008, charged with treason, quizzed by police, and placed under house arrest.

Police raided his residence to search for arms but nothing was found.

Despite the dramatic charges, he and his alleged co-conspirators were never taken to trial and the charges were dropped.

Muluzi wrested power from dictator Kamuzu Banda in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, and ruled for 10 years before handing power to his chosen successor Mutharika.

But Mutharika quickly turned against his political mentor and formed his own party, saying he feared a plot to topple him.

Currently, Muluzi is required to travel to South Africa from for routine medical check-up.

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