Rashid Tayub, one of the directors at Transglobe Produce Export Limited. wants a separate trial from his co-defendant former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda in the Zambia maize purchase case in which he is accused of corruption.
His lawyers brought an application before Blantyre chief resident magistrate Simeon Mdezato have a split trial of the case arguing they believed it was in the best interest of their client and his businesses.
Lusungu Gondwe, lawyer defending Tayub, asked the court to order a separate trial from Chaponda.
Another defence lawyer Madalo Banda said they thought a split trial would expedite the case because unlike Chaponda, their client had few witnesses and if tried together proceed would drag.
“Our client has the right to justice and he has the right to be tried fairly and in a speedy manner. That is why we filled the application for a separate trial,” she said.
Tayub is facing a charge of persuading a public officer to misuse his position . However, Admarc in testimonies in court, are on record to have said Tayub did not sign any contract with Admarc to supply the maize.
While Chaponda, who is Mulanje West lawmaker and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president for Southern Region is answering to three charges which are giving false information to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), influencing a public officer to misuse his position and possession of foreign currency.
They both pleaded not guilty.
However, State lead counsel Macmillan Chakhala indicated they were prepared to oppose the application for split trial.
“We are prepared to oppose the application because are of the view that the facts that make the case between the first and second accused persons were connected,” he said.
The State also made an application for adjournment arguing that since the High Court was handling the judicial review of the matter, the magistrate court could not proceed hearing the case.
Mdeza then adjourned the matter to consider whether he had the jurisdiction to continue hearing the matter or any application after the case was committed to the High Court in November last year.