Martha Chizuma to take plea on 8 February in audio case
The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate court has ordered Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau Martha Chizuma to appear in court and take plea on February 8, 2023.
Chizuma was supposed take plea Friday in a case connected to a leaked audio conversation.
Senior State Prosecutor Levison Mangani told the court that the notice summoning Chizuma to appear before court was served on her but she complained about it being on short notice. The State therefore resorted to changing the date to today, Friday.
“It is surprising that the accused person [Chizuma] is not present in court, since the accused person’s lawyers are here so they will tell us why their client is not here,” Mangani said.
Lawyer representing Chizuma, Powell Nkhutabasa, told the court that the head of the graft-busting body was in Blantyre on official duties.
“The State is aware why Chizuma is not in Court today as the reason was communicated to them. Chizuma is in Blantyre working on a corruption case involving Karim Batatawala,” Nkhutabasa said.
He further said that Chizuma would be available in court on Thursday next week after the State first furnishes her legal team with any documents relevant to the case before she appears before the court.
The State said the disclosures will be served by Tuesday next week.
Other lawyers representing Chizuma are Martha Kaukonde, Ayuba James and Mercy Chijere.
Chief Resident Magistrate Chimwaza adjourned the matter to February 8, 2023.
The matter comes as Chizuma has been sued by High Court judge Simeon M’deza, accusing her of defamatory remarks she is alleged to have made in the audio.
Mdeza is the judge who granted judicial review on a case involving Ashok Nair, a business partner to businessman Zuneth Sattar, who is answering corruption charges.
According to the audio, Chizuma alleged that M’deza gave Nair the freedom under influence of corruption.
During his recent televised national address on the commission of inquiry on the arrest of Chizuma, President Lazarus Chakwera said anyone feeling aggrieved by the audio is free to sue Chizuma.
Chizuma was arrested on December 6 following a complaint from former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni over the same leaked audio.
Based on the inquiry report, Chakwera replaced Kayuni with Legal Aid Director General Masauko Chamkakala.