Vice President Saulos Chilima is unlikely to take plea on August 1, 2023, as scheduled on Monday, as he intends to raise objections against the charges the Anti-Corruption Bureau intend to slap him with, a court ruling has revealed.
Justice Redson Kapindu on Monday set August 1 as a date when Chilima will take plea and take directions in a case where he is accused of having received US$280 000 from Malawian born UK based businessman Zuneth Sattar to influence contracts in the Malawi Defence Force.
The matter was adjourned after Chilima’s lead lawyer former Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale told the court he had only been served with the charge sheets without meeting the minimum required period.
“Kaphale, SC, proceeded to indicate in advance that as a matter of fact, it is the intention of the Defendant to avail himself of the right prescribed under section 151(1) of the CP & EC to raise objections against the charges that the prosecution seeks to prefer against him,” reads a summary of the court session in a ruling by Kapindu.
If Chilima objects to the charges, it is unlikely that a plea would be taken the same day and any decision on the matter is likely to end up at the Supreme Court like the case of former Lands Minister Kezzie Msukwa which is stuck in the appeals court.
Justice Kapiedindu agreed with Chilima’s defence team and said it was only in the interest of justice that they should be served with disclosures.
“The Court is inclined to find that this is a fair and reasonable demand, and one that is in the interests of justice, given the long period that the prosecution has taken since the Defendant was arrested. It is only fair and just that he be furnished with the material based on which he was arrested and indeed based on which the State is pursuing the prosecution herein before he takes plea,” said the Judge.
Kapindu said should the prosecution wish to provide further disclosures in future may make necessary representations.
The Judge then granted the defence’s request to hear a bail application variation from the defence and the ACB 21 days to furnish the defence with disclosures.