Bakili Muluzi’s fate on May 17
The Supreme Court of Appeal has set May 17 2022 as the date when it will deliver its judgement in the K1.7 billion case involving former president Bakili Muluzi.
In 2019, Muluzi, through his lawyers, appealed a High Court judgement which ruled in favour of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) invoking Section 32(2) (c) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
According to Section 32(2)(c) of the Corrupt Practices Act, if one is found in possession of unexplained property, being property that exceeds one’s known sources of income and the person does not provide an account for it, it is presumed that the property or income was obtained corruptly.
High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal acting Registrar Kondwani Banda confirmed in an interview yesterday that judgement in the case of Dr Elson Bakili Muluzi vs Attorney General, MSCA [Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal] Constitutional Case No 25 of 2019 will be delivered in Blantyre on May 17.
Over the past 13 years, Muluzi has been answering a case in which he is suspected to have diverted K1.7 billion of donor funds into his personal bank account.
In a separate interview yesterday, lawyer for Muluzi, Tamando Chokhotho, said the matter dates back to 2009 when Muluzi was charged in Criminal Case Number 1 of 2009 with, among other charges, being found in possession of unexplained property of around K1.7 billion, being income or assets more than his known sources of income.
“With the requirement that the accused should give an account, failing which they are presumed to have obtained their income or assets corruptly, and further with the burden of proof being placed on the accused, we filed a constitutional challenge of Section 32(2)(c) of the Corrupt Practices Act as the provision contravenes the rights to remain silent and to be presumed innocent under the Constitution,” Chokotho said.
In 2019, the High Court, sitting as a Constitutional Court, dismissed the challenge, forcing the defence to appeal the matter in the Supreme Court.