Muluzi objects to hearsay evidence: ACB block Mwenelupembe from joining defence legal team

In the ongoing graft case involving former president Bakili Muluzi, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) asked the court to block former ACB chief prosecutor Gaston Mwenelupembe from joining the Muluzi legal team.

The Muluzi legal team has lead attorney Kalekeni Kaphale, Jai Banda and Viva Nyimba. The team included Mwenelupembe but ACB lead prosecutor David Nyamirandu argued Mwenelupembe has conflict of interest in the matter.

Earlier, Muluzi also moved the court to block a State witness Victor Banda, who is ACB assistant director responsible for operations, from tendering evidence against him, arguing it is bordered on hearsay which is against the order of the law.

Banda was due to tender documents, an analysis from bank statements and receipts, to form part of the State evidence.

Muluzi: Wants fair trial
Muluzi: Wants fair trial

But Kaphale objected to tendering of the documents observing it was secondary evidence not admissible in law.

“We vehemently oppose the tendering of such evidence,” lawyer Kaphale told the court.

“It would be the first in Malawi if it this was allowed and it would be prejudice. The right to fair trial imposes the duty to strictly adhere to rules of the game, in this case evidence,” he argued.

Jai Banda reminded the court that former ACB director Alex Nampota on March 8 2011 informed the court that Banda would not tender evidence, but that he would only identify the documents.

Adding his voice to the argument, Nyimba noted that what was about to happen to produce Banda’s documents as evidence would prejudice Muluzi and his co-accused and former personal assistant Lyness Violet Whisky.

But Nyamirandu said the documents that were to be tendered by Banda were not hearsay, “it is a document that was prepared by him.”

The former president has always said the charges were linked to his dispute with his successor, late Bingu wa Mutharika.

Muluzi stepped down in 2004 after serving as president for 10 years.

He retired from active politics in 2009 due to ill-health.  Muluzi is walking with difficulties, but is using a cane to support his mobility.

Muluzi was initially charged with 86 counts of corruption and abuse of office. They were trimmed to three. The former president and his co-accused deny all the charges.

The case continues tomorrow (Thursday) when ACB will parade a second witness to testify against Muluzi.

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