The hearing of the fuel saga case involving former Minister of Energy Newton Kambala and two others, scheduled for today at the Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe, has been postponed to a later date.
Defence lawyer George Mtchuka Mwale confirmed to the press that they received a communication that High Court Judge Patrick Chirwa, who is sitting as chief resident magistrate in the case, has other meetings to attend.
In November 2022, the court summoned former National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) deputy CEO Helen Buluma to appear before the court from January 17 to 20, 2023, to testify in the case.
The summons followed a complaint by the defence team, who argued that Buluma was displaying traits of a “malingering witness” after she sought an adjournment citing illness, but according to the defence, Buluma attended a government function on the same day.
This postponement is not the first in this case, as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has sought adjournments twice for hearings set between June 27 to 29 and July 11 to 15, 2022.
The trio are accused of attempting to influence a public officer in the procurement of fuel, contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act.
ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The Forum for National Development (FND) has issued a statement expressing concern over the delays in concluding the hearing of this case.