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George Chaponda’s lawyers take ACB by surprise

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says it is surprised with the Notice of Adjournment obtained by defence lawyers at the Magistrates’ Court in the case involving former minister of Agriculture, George Chaponda, and one of the directors of Transglobe Produce Exports Rashid Tayub.
ACB has expressed surprise that Chaponda’s lawyers have obtained the Notice when there is a pending judicial review of the case to be tried at the High Court
The anti-graft body had asked Senior Resident Magistrate Simeon Mdeza to leave the case in the hands of another magistrate after they suspected foul play. The ACB issued a certificate of committal to transfer the case to the High Court after Mdeza stood his ground.
ACB lead prosecutor in the case, Macmillan Chakhala, said they are surprised that the court [Magistrate Court] which was barred from handling the case has issued the Notice of Adjournment.
“From our interpretation, we are of the view that the matter is not supposed to continue until judicial review is over. But since they have obtained the notice, we will see what we can do. We are surprised and we will see whether we will go or not,” Chakhala said.
The Notice of Adjournment, which The Daily Times has seen, dated December 13 2017, was granted by Chief Resident Magistrate Mdeza.
“Take notice that the matter herein has been adjourned to the 12th day of January 2018 at 10:00 in the for noon before His Worship Mdeza, in the Chief Resident Magistrates Court sitting at Blantyre,” reads part of the notice
In an earlier interview ACB acting Director, Reyneck Matemba, said the stay order means ACB cannot proceed with the case at the High Court.
“What this means is that we can neither serve the High Court with disclosures nor file charges for the accused until the issue of the stay order is sorted out,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chakhala has said the defence is yet to serve them the summons for judicial review.
“They [defence] were supposed to file the summons for judicial review after seven days so they filled the summons on December 6 at the court. However, the court has not given them a date,” he said.
Chaponda is charged with giving false information to the ACB, possession of foreign currency in Malawi and attempt to obtain an advantage.
Tayub is facing a charge of persuading a public officer to perform his functions corruptly.

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