The State has told the High Court in the Commercial City of Blantyre that it is not ready with the graft case involving the former State President of the Republic of Malawi Dr Bakili Muluzi.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) dragged Muluzi to court in 2005 on charges of possession of unexplained property, diverting government funds into his personal account and the purchasing of vehicles worth K200 million while he was in power. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba told the court a couple of days ago during a session where Dr Muluzi himself donning a black suit, white shirt and grey necktie made his presence that government was not ready to start the proceedings of the case.
However, prosecutors from the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) contradicted him, saying they were ready to proceed with the case in as far as they were concerned.
“I wish to advise the court that there have been developments in the ACB which have directly affected the composition of the team prosecuting this matter. It is my decision in line with Section 99 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi that the prosecution team be reconstituted so that the matter can proceed to the best way possible.
“In light of that decision, it is my prayer that this matter be adjourned so that I am able to look at the file on how best to conduct the prosecution.
“In other words my Lord, the State is not ready to prosecute [today],” Kalemba told the court when everything seemed to have been ready for the case.
Responding to the adjournment appeal, Kalekeni Kaphale, one of the members of the defence team did not object saying he had already written the court indicating that he would be on a study leave from mid July hence would not be available for court proceedings.
And at a time when presiding Judge Maclean Kamwambe was writing down his determination on the matter, ACB Assistant Director David Nyamilandu rose from his seat, telling the court that the anti graft busting body was ready.
“We understand the Constitution. Section 99 enables the DPP to take over matters. So, even if the ACB is prepared to proceed, our hands are tied in recognition of the DPP’s prayer for adjournment,” Nyamilandu said.
But the development puzzled Kaphale who described it as being “out of turn”, as the DPP and ACB spoke different languages in the matter yet they both belonged to the same prosecution side.
Kamwambe, while summoning both teams to his chamber, finally granted the adjournment as he said it was clear that both the prosecution and the defence team were not ready.
The matter has since been adjourned to run from October 8 to 26, 2012.
Dr Muluzi was escorted to the court by UDF gurus George Nga Mtafu, Gerald Mponda, Kennedy Makwangwala and Moses Dossi,among others.