An appeal by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) against interdicted Blantyre principal resident magistrate Mzondi Mvula, who was acquitted by the High Court in May last year on corruption charges, has been dismissed by the Supreme Court of Malawi.
ACB had filed an appeal against last year’s High Court judgement that acquitted Mvula and two others in a corruption case the trio was answering.
Mvula was, alongside two others, last May acquitted by High Court Judge Geoffrey Mwase after the ACB failed to prove that he solicited a K5 million (about $15 000 at current exchange rates) bribe from a businessperson, Ramesh Patel.
The bureau placed six charges against Mvula and businesspersons Rashid Gaffar and Kondi Msungama, but the judge said the evidence before the court did not prove any wrong-doing against the three suspects.
However, ACB lodged at appeal to Supreme Court arguing that the High Court judge “erred in law” by dismissing the conspiracy to defraud and in applying the high standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt.
A panel of three judges of Justice Edward Twea, Justice Richard Chinangwa and Justice Frank Kapanda ruled that there was no merit to allow the appeal.
“Charging a count of conspiracy together with a count of a substantive offence therefore does not make the charge bad at law, it is an indicative of poor prosecution practice,” reads the Supreme Court determination.
The Supreme Court also dismissed the evidence based on call-logs, saying it doesn’t provide evidence of what callers were discussing or conspiring.
“Having gone through the fact , evidence and the law, in this case, it is our judgement that that appeal must fail and we so order,” reads the judgement.