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Gerald Chiunda, others deny charges again

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Ex-Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) executive director Gerald Chiunda and three other Maneb officials have, again, denied charges levelled against them in the examinations’ leakage case.

The other three are the board’s head of security Owen Khuntho, chief examinations development officer Ishmael Faki and chief examinations security officer Joseph Chilombe.

Chiunda is now answering two counts, the first being failure to take reasonable steps to secure Maneb examinations’ materials while the second count is that of failure to exercise due care and attention in relation to the security of Maneb examinations materials, a count which Chilombe is also facing.

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Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate Austin Banda had, initially, ordered the State to produce fresh amended charge sheets.

On Friday, State lawyer Trevor Mphalale presented amended charge sheets to the court.

According to the new charge sheets, Chiunda is now answering two counts— that is, failure to secure examinations materials and failure to exercise due care in securing Maneb examinations materials, a charge which Chilombe is also facing.

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However, Khuntho is answering a third count of failing to take reasonable steps to secure Malawi School Certificate of Education examinations materials.

Faki, on the other hand, is answering a fourth count of failure to take reasonable steps to secure national examinations, the exception being particulars of the offence.

The charges are in line with the Maneb Act.

However, all the suspects have denied the charges.

When proceedings resumed on Friday, Mphalale told the court that the State was not ready to start parading witnesses due to reasons beyond its control.

On his part, Alfred Lungu, who is representing Chiunda and Faki, asked the court to allow him access some documents, among them Maneb meetings’ minutes.

“What we’ve been ordered to file is an application for an order that the State should produce documents we listed, among them management meeting minutes,” he told The Daily Times.

Meanwhile, Banda has ordered Lungu to have the application submitted in written form, adding that it has to be furnished to the State by September 8 this year.

He also ordered the State to respond to the application by September 13.

The case has been adjourned to a yet to be announced date.

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