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Judges report bribery attempt

Judges presiding over the landmark elections case at the Constitutional Court have complained to the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) that some people have made moves to bribe the judges to make a verdict in their favour.

ACB Director, Reyneck Matemba confirmed receiving complaint from the Chief Justice, Andrew Nyirenda, but did not specify which parties wanted to grease the judges’ palms.

“I can confirm that the Anti-Corruption Bureau received a written complaint

from the Chief Justice on a matter related to the presidential elections case that is pending judgment in the Constitutional Court.

“We cannot, however, disclose any further details of the complaint,” Matemba said.

The ACB chief, however, said the bureau is treating the complaint with urgency and that it has names on individuals involved.

“Suffice it to say that the ACB is pursuing this particular complaint, as well as other written complaints that we also received from different sources and interested stakeholders.

“You may wish to know that the complaints that the ACB received are not against any political party or any of the parties to the presidential elections case, but against specific individuals,” Matemba said.

Our sources close to the matter say one emissary cheated his principals by saying the judges had said they needed more. The principals added more money to the bribe and used a different principal who contacted one of the judges in the matter who in turn reported the matter to Chief Andrew Nyirenda.

The Chief Justice in turn reported the matter to ACB.

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) declared Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Peter Mutharika winner of the elections that were held on May 21 2019. Malawi Congress Party’s Lazarus Chakwera and UTM’s Saulos Chilima were declared second and third respectively.

Chakwera and Chilima sought the court’s intervention to nullify results of the polls on the premise that they were marred by numerous irregularities.

Judiciary’s Registrar Agnes Patemba could not confirm the complainants but only asked for a questionnaire which she did not respond to as we went to press.

Judge Healey Potani is heading the panel that is handling the case comprising Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise and Redson Kapindu.

Late last year, Potani, after winding up hearing in the case, assured that the judges would not be influenced by public opinion when coming up with the verdict.

Last week, petitioners in the case Chakwera and Chilima refused to meet the European Union Election Observer Mission in Lilongwe ahead of the delegation’s planned release of a report on the elections.

Chakwera and Chilima had reservations with such a move in view of the elections case at the Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe.

Malawi Law Society also raised concerns that the report would jeopardise the case whose verdict is expected within 45 days from December 21 2019.

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