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Court snubs Trevor Hiwa

The Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court Tuesday dismissed former Roads Authority (RA) Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Hiwa’s, application to discharge his corruption case.

Last week, the defence asked the court to drop the charges against him citing the State’s failure to start prosecution in time.

When the court sat on July 18 for commencement of hearing, the State asked for an adjournment as the prosecution agency, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), awaited the Director of Public Prosecutions’ (DPP’s) consent to prosecute.

The defence based its application on Section 42(4) of the Corrupt Practices Act and Section 247 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code.

In her ruling, Chief Resident Magistrate, Violet Chipao, said the prosecution was available on the date of hearing and from the record, it cannot be said that they are unwilling to proceed with prosecution of the matter.

Chipao, however, said where the prosecution is unable to proceed with the hearing of the matter on a set date, the court is indeed mandated to proceed to discharge the accused person unless there are good reasons to adjourn the matter.

She said the State did its part in submitting the required request for consent to prosecute to the DPP.

The Chief Resident Magistrate said the court considered that the State had not served the disclosures as of July 18 but on the same date the State was ready and willing to serve the documents and, actually, did.

“In these circumstances therefore, the court is convinced that there are good reasons to allow the State to adjourn the case and not to discharge the accused person. The application for discharge of the accused person is, therefore, dismissed,” the ruling reads.

The ACB prosecutor in the case, Imran Saidi, said the DPP, Mary Kachale, already gave consent to prosecute on the same day the case was adjourned and the bureau is ready to start the prosecution process.

“The court has actually set a date of August 11 as the date for the commencement of hearing and the State is ready to parade witnesses,” Saidi said.

The former RA boss is said to have recommended the award of a contract to his own company, Infracon Limited, for the World Bank-funded $303, 833 contract for the design and supervision of roads construction in Central and Southern regions.

Among the three counts, Hiwa was charged with failure to disclose interest in the procurement process and abuse of office on allegations that he corruptly awarded a RA and World Bank contract to his family business, Infracon Limited.

Hiwa is suspected to have done that without the approval of internal procurement committee.

He was arrested on June 20 and pleaded not guilty before being granted bail on June 21 this year.

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