Legal Affairs Committee of parliament has told the graft-busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to update the nation on the K1.7 billion corruption case against former president Bakili Muluzi that has stagnated for about 13 years.
Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Kezzie Msukwa said it was worrying that the case has been dragging for over 13 years.
“The ACB should either prosecute him or dismiss the case if the State is not interested in prosecuting Muluzi,” said Msukwa.
Only one witness out of the 30 has so far given evidence in the a 13-old case.
There was no immediate comment from the ACB but its director Reynold Matemba is on record as having said the delays are mainly due to applications by the defense counsel n varius legal challenges as well as Muluzi’s ill health which prompted him to seek medical help outside the country.
Muluzi, who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004 as first democratically elected president, was arrested in 2005 by ACB for allegedly diverting into his personal accounts what the State claimed was donor money amounting to $11 million.
The funds were reportedly given to Muluzi directly from Taiwan, Morocco and Libya for the campaign of late Bingu wa Mutharika, his hand picked successor under United Democratic Front (UDF).
The trial begun in 2006 and to date it has not been concluded, making it one of the most dragged high-profile criminal cases in the country.
The former president has denied any wrongdoing and also claims the charges were politically inspired.
The State added a loan transaction of about K20 million ($27 397), which Muluzi took from Loita Bank, to be considered as “money obtained corruptly.”
So far over K600 million was struck off when prosecution witness, Victor Banda, a former assistant director and head of prosecution for Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) , agreed that the money should not be part of the cumulative figure as there was no indication it was corruptly acquired.
The deductions, among others, include K11 million whose method of payment was a loan deposited into Muluzi’s account at Loita Investment Bank and a K80 million loan from Stanbic Bank (now Standard Bank) which Muluzi got for the construction of Keza Office Park.
The trial opened in 2009 but has been subjected to several adjournments, partly because of Muluzi’s hospitalizations related to spinal problems. Both sides reject allegations that they have been deliberately delaying proceedings.
The State had spent as much as $12 million on the case.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :