2 judges to testify in bribery case

MATEMBA—We do not talk about arrests in public

Two judges, Mike Tembo and Healey Potani, who were hearing May 21 2019 presidential election nullification case, whose judgement will be delivered Monday, will be Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)’s key witnesses in businessman Thom Mpinganjira attempted bribery case.

Last week Wednesday, ACB arrested former FDH Financial Holdings Limited Group chief executive officer Mpinganjira on allegations that he attempted to bribe judges hearing the presidential case at the Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe.

According to a charge sheet that Malawi News has seen, Tembo will be the first witness while Potani will be second witness.


While declining to comment on its witnesses, ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba said, currently, the bureau is supposed to serve disclosures to the defence for the case to proceed.

“We formally charged Dr Thom Mpinganjira, what we are supposed to do now is serve disclosures on the defence so that they can adequately prepare, it is a constitutional right for any accused person who has been arrested for a suspected offence.

“But we will be able to inform the people of Malawi once we finalise all those procedures and we normally have to get in touch with the court because we have to make arrangement so that we take him to court so that he takes plea and, depending on the plea that he makes in court, then we will be able to decide way forward; whether we have to bring in witnesses or not, it will depend on the type of plea that he will enter in court,” he said.


Matemba declined to disclose whether the bureau will make further arrests on the matter.

“As I indicated last week, our investigations are still continuing. We normally do not talk about arrests in public, that is not how we operate in the bureau,” he said.

Wednesday this week, ACB formally charged Mpinganjira with three counts in relation to the bribery case.

Firstly, Mpinganjira has been charged with allegedly offering an advantage to a public officer.

Reading the charges, Senior Chief Resident Magistrate Simeon Mdeza said Mpinganjira offered K100 million to Justice Tembo for his benefit and benefit of Justices Ivy Kamanga, Redson Kapindu, Potani and Dingiswayo Madise as an inducement to decide the elections case in favour of the respondents (Malawi Electoral Commission [Mec] and President Peter Mutharika).

In the alternative, Mpinganjira has been charged with an attempt to induce Justices Tembo and Potani to exercise their function corruptly, to accept K100 million for the same purpose.

Lastly, Mpinganjira has been charged with attempting to induce a public officer to abuse his office saying he attempted to induce Justices Tembo and Potani to abuse their offices to accept K100 million and rule the election case in favour of the respondents.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Defenders Coalition has called on Mpinganjira to resign as Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Board Chairperson.

In a statement issued yesterday, the coalition said Mpinganjira cannot continue to competently discharge his duties as Escom Board Chair while he is answering bribery allegations.

“While we are mindful that Dr Thom Mpinganjira is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law, we strongly opine that the allegations levelled against him are grave, time and energy consuming and supping respectively, it is therefore only proper that he steps down to allow other competent Malawians to take over the mantle at Escom,” reads part of the statement.

Mpinganjira was granted bail a day after he was re-arrested after High Court Judge Justice Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga had quashed a court order which Zomba Principal Resident Magistrate Ben Chitsakamire issued challenging Mpinganjira’s arrest last week Wednesday.

Before obtaining the warrant of arrest for Mpinganjira, Matemba told the press that they were investigating two individuals from the public and private sectors after Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda had, on behalf of the judges who are handling the case, complained to the graft-busting body over the attempts to bribe them.

The judges are expected to deliver a ruling on the case following a petition by UTM leader Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera challenging Mec’s decision to declare Mutharika the winner of the May 21 2019 presidential election saying the election results were marred by irregularities.

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