Nine witnesses, including five judges who presided over the presidential election case at the High Court which sat as the Constitutional Court, will testify in the alleged bribery case against business mogul Thomson Mpinganjira.

ACB director Reyneck Matemba said in an interview after the High Court held a virtual court session in a case in which Mpinganjira is accused of allegedly offering a bribe to judges who presided over the historic election case.

The hearing, held via Zoom yesterday, was presided over by Justice Dorothy DeGabrielle and focused on pre-hearing directions for the case.

Matemba said the five judges—Healey Potani, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu, Ivy Kamanga and Mike Tembo—will testify in court alongside four investigators from the graft-busting body.

He said the case will resume on July 29 following an application by the defence lawyers for a 21-day adjournment to prepare for the case but added the State was committed to a speedy trial.

Said Matemba: “We have discussed. The court has heard about preparedness of the case. We explained that our disclosures are ready and we will file to court and defence today a list of documents we will rely on in court. We have agreed a plea will be taken on 29 July. The judge wants an expedited trial just as we do. The judge wants the case over by December.”

On his part, one of the lawyers for Mpinganjira, Patrice Nkhono said the presiding judge sought to know from ACB the situation with the case.

“The ACB director general reported to the judge that the ACB intended to serve on us disclosures of evidence that is intended to be relied upon and that these would be summaries of witness statements and documents. Disclosures by the State are, of course, required in order to help the defence prepare for hearing. We therefore expect to receive the disclosures today,” he said.

Nkhono said the defence was now waiting for ACB to file a signed charge sheet with the court to finish preparations for the case, noting that Matemba had told the court that the bureau “intends to file the charge sheet soon”.

He added that the bureau has indicated that it will rely on the same counts as they appeared in the certificate by which the case was committed to the High Court from the magistrate’s court.

“Once we receive the disclosures, we, on the defence side, will be able to make a decision regarding how to go forward,” said Nkhono.

He also expressed concern over what he termed unfair media reporting on the case which he said could hamper Mpinganjira’s constitutional right to a fair trial.

Two judges—Tembo and Potani—provided ACB with sworn statements which detailed the allegations against Mpinganjira.

In a statement, the two judges claim Mpinganjira allegedly offered a bribe of K100 million to be shared by the judges to rule the case in favour of the then governing Democratic Progressive Party.

Among others, Mpinganjira is charged with offering advantage to a public officer contrary to Section 94 (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act and attempting to induce Justices Tembo and Potani to exercise their function corruptly.

Source; Nation Online

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