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High Court reserves Thom Mpinganjira bail ruling

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Thomson Mpinganjira

The High Court sitting in Blantyre has reserved its ruling on whether to release businessman Thomson Mpinganjira on bail pending appeal.

Mpinganjira was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for attempting to bribe judges who were hearing the presidential election case to rule in favour of the Malawi Electoral Commission and former president and Democratic Progressive Party torch-bearer in the May 21 2019 presidential election Peter Mutharika.

Judge John Chirwa is hearing the case.

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Mpinganjira’s new lawyer Alexious Nampota declined to comment on the proceedings which took place in chambers, saying he had no instruction to speak to the media.

Anti-Corruption Bureau lawyer Chikumbutso Harawa said they submitted to the court that Mpinganjira had not demonstrated any special circumstances warranting release on bail pending appeal.

“The court has reserved the ruling to a date to be communicated but we have told the court that Mr Mpinganjira has not demonstrated special circumstances to be released on bail pending appeal,” he said.

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In the morning, Mpinganjira, who was not physically present in court, was being represented by Lusungu Gondwe and Ritz at Attorneys at Law.

However, the State objected to Ritz Attorneys at Law representing Mpinganjira, saying High Court Judge Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga ordered lawyer Lusungu Gondwe of the company to stop representing Mpinganjira, saying he misled him when obtaining an order quashing his warrant of arrest.

Wanangwa Hara of Ritz confirmed that the company was no longer representing Mpinganjira in the case.

“The court has ruled that we cease to represent Mr Mpinganjira but all the documents we filed will form part of the application. For now, we do not have instructions on whether to either appeal the decision of the court or not,” he said.

Kamanga barred Gondwe from representing Mpinganjira and then referred him to the Malawi Law Society for disciplinary proceedings.

She also referred Magistrate Ben Chitsakamire in Zomba, who quashed the warrant of arrest, to the Judicial Service Commission for a disciplinary hearing for the unprocedural quashing of the warrant after being approached by Gondwe.

The Judicial Service Commission fired Chitsakamire for the conduct but Lozindaba Mvundula, who is Ritz spokesperson, said MLS took a position not to punish Gondwe on the premise that the court had already admonished him.

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