Judge raises concern over adjournments
The High Court in Lilongwe has expressed concern over the tendency by the defence to apply for adjournments in the K2 billion Cashgate case involving the former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander, Henry Odillo, and three others.
Justice Redson Kapindu raised the concern when defence lawyers applied for another adjournment on Thursday.
Kapindu emphasised that he was not amused with the way the defence is managing its time, saying it is slowing progress on the matter.
Odillo’s lead counsel, Titus Mvalo, told the court that the defence would need more time to prepare for the crossexamination of the second prosecution witness, Brigadier
“If we are to have fair trial, we would seek more time to prepare before we can start crossexamining the second witness,” Mvalo said.
But this did not please Kapindu, who schooled the lawyers that a fair trial requires that the accused are given speedy trial.“
We must adhere to what the Constitution says about speedy trial. An adjournment is not granted as a right, but as a court’s discretion. The court is very concerned with the manner in which the adjournments are sought,” said the judge.
This notwithstanding, Kapindu granted the defence’s wish for an adjournment to a date yet to be fixed. Odillo, along with former Accountant General David Kandoje, Retired Lt Colonel Nelson Kauwa Banda and Ganizani Kuchombo are being accused of conspiracy, use of public office for personal advantage, dealing in contract, money laundering, gross negligence by public officers and improper payment of public money.
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