It will be a hectic 14 days for Malawi’s courts this month as 13 high profile cases will be heard starting today.
In an interview yesterday, Ministry of Justice spokesperson Pirirani Masanjala said the ministry is moving to speed up cases.
“But we cannot determine and say with certainty how the cases will proceed because who knows what the other parties who are involved will bring on the table on that particular day. But we are prepared,” he said.
Batatawala walks out of court during a previous appearance
Among the cases is the Thom Mpinganjira bail pending appeal hearing this morning at the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre.
The business mogul is challenging the High Court’s decision to deny him bail pending an appeal last month.
Mpinganjira was found guilty in the judge bribery case on September 10 2021 by High Court Judge Dorothy DeGabrielle and was on October 5 2021 sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment with hard labour.
Meanwhile, tomorrow, the High Court in Lilongwe is expected to hear a judicial review application by Minister of Lands Housing and Urban Development Kezzie Msukwa for his alleged corruption following a fresh application by co-accused Ashok Nair.
Msukwa was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly obtaining bribes in form of K15 million, a Mercedes-Benz and K4 million from businessperson Zuneth Sattar who is under investigation by the bureau alongside the United Kingdom’s National Crimes Agency.
On the same day, Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court is expected to deliver its judgement in the former Medical Aid Society of Malawi chief commercial officer Andrew Ngomwa’s defilement case.
While on January 18, former minister of Irrigation and Water Development Charles Mchacha, who is accused of illegal acquisition of public land in Blantyre, will appear before High Court of Malawi judge Annabel Mtalimanja in Lilongwe.
On the same day, former Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) boss Collins Magalasi alongside Mera public relations officer Patrick Maulidi, procurement officer Bright Mbewe and businessperson Dorothy Shonga Nkhoma, who are answering charges of fraud, money laundering and entering into procurement with an employee, will appear before chief resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa in Lilongwe.
Come January 19, Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court will continue hearing a case involving Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board’s former finance and administration manager Enos Ganunga and loans manager Chimwemwe Kaphagawani in the alleged abuse of K5.1 million at the board.
Then on January 20, businessperson Abdul Karim Batatawala, former Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services chief immigration officer Elvis Thodi, the department’s commissioner responsible for operations Fletcher Nyirenda and deputy director Limbani Chawinga will appear before senior resident magistrate Martin Chipofya in Blantyre.
The four are expected to take plea in a case relating to suspected corrupt practices in procurement contracts between 2009 and 2012 for uniforms and other accessories at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services.
Businessperson Zameer Karim, who is facing forgery charges, will have another day on trial of January 21 in Blantyre.
In the case, Karim alongside former Malawi Police Service director of finance Innocent Bottoman, who died last year, are accused of forging a letter to Ecobank facilitating a K150 million loan.
Karim and Bottoman were arrested alongside another police officer Grant Kachingwe in 2018 for their alleged involvement in the K7 billion police food rations scandal, which is now being prosecuted separately by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and ACB.
On the same day, the High Court in Lilongwe will continue the trial of former police officers alleged to have had a hand in the death of Buleya Lule in police custody.
On January 24, the Blantyre Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court will continue hearing a case involving former Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi chief executive officer Alexon Chiwaya and former director of human resources Daphter Namandwa who are answering charges of abuse of office and fraud.
While former president Peter Mutharika’s personal bodyguard Norman Chisale’s Constitutional Court preservation order judgement is expected to be delivered on January 26 in Blantyre.
On January 28 High Court Judge Sylvester Kalembera is expected to deliver his ruling on an application by the accused in the K20 billion bank fraud case to dismiss the matter on the basis that the Export Development Fund (EDF), a division of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, had no legal mandate to lend money in 2016 because it was not registered.
In the case, Cotton Ginners borrowed K8.5 billion from Standard Bank Malawi plc, K4 billion from EDF, K3.4 billion from Ecobank Malawi Limited, K4.4 billion from CDH Investment Bank Limited and K250 million from National Bank of Malawi.
On the other hand, Bantyre Senior Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court will continue hearing an abuse of office case involving former Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority boss Godfrey Itaye on January 31.