Former president Bakili Muluzi’s graft case returns to court next month on October 8 after it was adjourned in July this year, the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) has disclosed.
ACB Senior Public Relations Officer Egrita Ndala in an interview said that the freeze in funding to the Bureau due to the absence of a director has crippled its operations including prosecutions.
“The Muluzi matter is in court and the Court has set 8th October, 2012 for continuation of hearing,” Ndala said.
Hearing of the matter came to an abrupt stop as High Court Judge Maclean Kamwambe adjourned it due to an apparent contradiction between the State and the ACB over the prosecution of the case.
Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Bruno Kalemba and ACB Assistant Director David Nyamilandu contradicted on their readiness to continue with the hearing when leader of the prosecution team Alexius Nampota was out of it.
“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 [and] it is my decision … 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 [on that day],” Kalemba said.
But Nyamilandu, in response, implicitly told the court the ACB was ready to proceed with the matter despite the change in the prosecution team, but could not proceed basing on the DPP’s stand.
“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 told the court.
The ACB dragged Muluzi to court in 2009 on charges of possession of unexplained property, diverting government K1.7 billion 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 charge