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ACB plays slow in Bakili Muluzi case

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Twenty-four days into the four-weeks that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) asked the High Court to give the state to organise its prosecution team and identify lead counsel in former president Bakili Muluzi’s K1.7 billion corruption case, the anti-graft body is yet to do so.

This comes amidst reports that the state has been mulling over the decision to completely drop the case against Muluzi and his co-accused Lyness Whiskey for unknown reasons.

One of the three state lawyers ACB deputy director, Reyneck Matemba, recused himself from the case last month citing personal reasons, a development which prompted the defence to ask the court to discharge Muluzi and Whiskey.

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But the ACB chief prosecutions officer, Chrispin Khunga, who is not part of the prosecution team told the court on May 12, 2016 that the state is willing to prosecute the matter and just needed four weeks to organise its team.

Asked on the progress this far, ACB senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala just said: “The Anti-Corruption Bureau has not yet named the lead prosecutor to lead the team prosecuting the case of Bakili Muluzi.”

Khunga also told the court that the state had plans to re-engage another prosecutor, private practice lawyer, Clement Mwala, whose contract with the ACB expired in April.

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Matemba’s recusal and Mwala’s contract expiry technically left ACB prosecutor, Imran Saidi, as the only state lawyer remaining but Judge Maclean Kamwambe also questioned Saidi’s commitment towards the case.

Last month, High Court Judge, Maclean Kamwambe, rejected Muluzi lawyers’ application to have the case discharged due to the state’s failure to prosecute the case taking into account the moving out of Matemba and Mwala.

Kamwambe, who noted that the state seems not willing to prosecute the case, said he was still hesitant to set the Muluzi and his co-accused Lyness Whiskey free.

The case is expected to resume on June 13 to 17 then from August 1 to August 12 2016.

Muluzi, who was arrested in 2006 and first appeared in court in 2009 in a case that has been subjected to several adjournments and excuses from both the state and defence sides.

There are 15 corruption-related charges against Muluzi and out of them, Whiskey is answering three.

Muluzi, who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004, is being accused of misappropriating public funds between 1999 and 2005.

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