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George Chaponda’s fate on May 18

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The Zomba Magistrates Court is expected to give its ruling next month on whether former Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda and his co-accused Rashid Tayub, one of the directors of Transglobe Export Produce, have a case to answer pertaining to the charges of dubious purchase of maize in Zambia they are facing.

Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate Paul Chiotcha said this Friday after the defence presented its oral submissions for no case to answer on the matter.

“I will make a determination on whether there is a case to answer or not on May 18, 2018,” he said.

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In his defence for no case to answer during the oral submissions, lead defence counsel Tamando Chokhotho said the state witnesses did not present enough evidence on any of the charges that Chaponda is facing.

“In relation to the second count, which is attempting to obtain an advantage, the allegation is that Chaponda instructed Foster Mlumbe, former Agricultural Development Marketing Corporation (Admarc) Chief Executive Officer, to give a contract to Transglobe for 50,000 metric tonnes out of the 100,000 metric tonnes that ZCF was contracted to supply to Admarc even Mr. Mlumbe himself denied that there was an instruction to him, so basically that allegation was purely false and its unfortunate and was actually malicious,” he said.

One of the lawyers representing the second accused, Jai Banda, asked the state if they could return some of the items the bureau is still keeping.

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“So far, all the evidence was given and there is nothing new they can find even if they continue to hold on to some of the items they confiscated from our clients that is why we are saying they should return them,” he said.

Commenting on the matter, lead prosecutor Macmillan Chakhala requested the defence to put it in writing and that they will respond accordingly.

“I told them that they should write us a letter. It is something we can discuss, the items are gadgets… we can see which gadgets we can return. We just have to crosscheck with our investigators if they are done with their gadgets,” he said.

Meanwhile the case has since been adjourned to next week Friday when the state will present its oral submissions on case to answer.

Chaponda is being accused of giving false information to the ACB, being found in possession of foreign currency in Malawi and attempting to obtain an advantage.

Tayub, on the other hand, is facing the charge of persuading a public officer toperform his functions corruptly.

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