Four witnesses are expected to testify in the on-going Kamuzu Stadium gate fraud case in which six people are being accused of stealing K437,000 gate collections.
State Prosecutor Francis Malenga said they will parade four witnesses in a case where the six allegedly stole gate collections during a TNM Super League match between Mighty Wanderers and Sable Farming on April 16.
Malenga had earlier asked the court to adjourn the case to a later date because the first respondent Lasten Theu was unwell. However, he later made another application, asking the court to proceed with the case.
Defence lawyer Ian Kumpita was asked to submit a medical report as a proof for Theu’s illness, which the defence lawyer brought in the second session of the court.
According to the health passport, which was brought before the court, Theu was treated for diarrhoea at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and was given a three day bed rest.
Making his ruling on the matter, Senior Magistrate Akya Mwanyongo said the case has been adjourned to June 8 in order to exercise justice and fair trial in the case.
“There is need to address and balance interest for both the state and defence. The court feels for the complainant. On two occasions we failed to proceed with the case.
“The first accused is sick just like every human being can fall sick and the reasonable way to have all accused persons present in court is justifiable. Allowing the state’s plea to continue with the case in the absence of the first accused is injustice and therefore we cannot proceed today’s. The accused has the right to health just like any other person,” he said.
In reaction, Kumpita, the defence lawyer, said he was happy with the ruling.
“The court has followed rules and applied justice in order to attain fair trial. This is all what we applied in the court so we are happy,” he said.
However, Malenga, who made two applications, justified his stance, saying the state wanted to proceed with the case because of witnesses concerns.
“We were under pressure by the state witnesses to proceed with the case today [Saturday] that is why I made two different applications within hours. The court adjournment of the case is justifiable as they only have followed laws and I knew this would happen though I applied for continuation of the case,” he said.
The six accused include four gate cashiers Chiyembekezo Buffalo, 22, Tingo Fungulani, 22, Prince Ndalama, 19 and Gladys Meja, 23, while their two directors are Theu, 27 and Wyson Chingana, 35.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.