The High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court in Lilongwe Monday allowed one of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, Lazarus Chakwera’s witnesses in the ongoing case, Peter Lackson, to amend and insert documents in his sworn statements.
Lackson, alongside another of Chakwera’s witness, Anthony Bendulo, applied to the court on Friday to insert some documents which were “inadvertently” omitted when submitting their sworn statements.
However, the court refused to give Bendulo the nod to add fresh documents to his sworn statements, arguing there was little proof that the documents were skipped accidentally.
The court also gave a go-ahead to lawyer for first respondent, President Peter Mutharika, Frank Mbeta, to access a packing list of voting documents from Malawi Electoral Commission as issued by the printer of the items in Dubai.
Presenting the determination, one of the judges hearing the case, Redson Kapindu, said the court also decided to recall Chakwera’s second witness, Richard Chapweteka, to the court for cross-examination on the basis of the packing list on a date and duration to be determined by the court.
Kapindu also cautioned lawyer for first petitioner, Marshal Chilenga, over his objection against Mbeta’s application to access the packing list.
“We are of the distinct impression that the objection was raised without thorough and diligent examination of the matter and the result of such conduct on the part of the first petitioners counsel has been a clear waste of precious time in the present matter where all parties agree that time is of high essence and hence the expedited nature of the proceedings.
“This is considering more so that the second petitioner, against whose witnesses are sought to be used in cross-examination, did not and does not oppose the disclosure of the said documents. The court, therefore, urges the first petitioner’s counsel to always consider objections of this nature before advancing them to the attention of the court. In future, causing unnecessary delays in this court by raising such frivolous objections may be sanctioned,” Kapindu said.
Chakwera’s legal team has since been given up to noon today to furnish the court with supplementary statements of Lackson containing the amendments and insertions.
The court also gave the respondents by 4pm on Thursday to file responses to the supplementary amended sworn statements.
Speaking after yesterday’s session, Mbeta said he was satisfied with the outcome of the determination.