SKC free, case to be discontinued

…DPP is said to have written to Parliament

… Veep will contest in 2025, MCP says he won’t

Vice President Saulos Chilima’s case has fallen off as evidence linking Zuneth Sattar to senior Malawi Congress Party (MCP) officials is very visible on bank statements submitted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in court, The Investigator Magazine can reveal.

Vice President Saulos Chilima’s case has fallen off as state wants to discontinue the case

Sources, including senior MCP and UTM officials, indicate that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Masauko Chamkakala has already written to the Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani NyaHara lining the reasons for discontinuance and the announcement is expected as early as next week.

The announcement will come in the absence of President Lazarus Chakwera who is away to the United States of America for a summit.

MCP officials are trying hard to push a counter-narrative that the UTM leader will not be running in 2025 as part of the deal he has made with President Lazarus Chakwera that he will be Tonse Alliance representative in 2030.

The Investigator Magazine has credible information that Vice President Chilima will be on the ballot come 2025, opening a three-way race against Chakwera and Former President and DPP leader Professor Peter Mutharika.

The case has turned into a political bomb

Chilima who was arrested in November 2022 has dutifully been attending his court cases, but the matter has been stuck at the evidence disclosure stage, as the Anti-Corruption Bureau could not provide all requests from the defence on disclosures.

The Vice President was supposed to take a plea on Friday, but the case was adjourned to the 10th of May as he is acting President in the absence of the President of Chakwera. However, it is unlikely to come back to court for continuation.

Chilima is acting President in the absence of the President of Chakwera

High Court Judge Redison Kapindu sitting as Financial Crimes Court has had to make several rulings for the past year to compel the Malawi Defence Force- whose contract is the one Chilima is accused of having benefitted from influencing its award to Zuneth Sattar’s- to bring evidence.

“The biggest problem now is the bank statements. They contain very interesting information about his transactions and payments to Malawi. The statements as presented in court will become public record and hence a political bomb,” said a source close to the matter.

Chilima’s team asked for Defence Council minutes which is chaired by President Chakwera, but Kapindu who ordered the evidence submitted to him ruled that they contained sensitive national security matters but could still be revealed during trial if the defence asked for it.

UTM President Saulosi Chilima arrives at the ConCourt-pic by Lisa Kadango

“It was obvious that the ruling was clear, bring the evidence when asked and be prepared to have it in a public court. That scared everyone else hence the matter has come to its end,” charged a UTM supporter.

The government proceeded to pay the same contract US$4.9 million in November last year irking major donors and the pressure has been piling up on Lilongwe.

ACB’s Chizuma’s last month

The desire to discontinue Sattar’s case has been there all along but outgoing Director General of the ACB Martha Chizuma was seen as a stumbling block. Her contract expires this month and the rush to end politically sensitive cases before she leaves is to portray as if she has approved.

Her contract expires this month

“We are just finding out just as you are about the case,” said an ACB source, who had asked time to verify our query on the dropping of the matter.

The source later confirmed that the case would be dropped but it could not be ascertained if the Chamkakala has already informed Chizuma of his decision to discontinue Chilima’s case.

“The lady has not been forthcoming; she has been almost isolated in her last days. The day she leaves there will be fresh arrests of people even within MCP as part of the battles for its convention,” said a senior source.

Chilima to stand or not to stand

It depends on who you speak to, senior UTM officials say the Vice President has not made any deals with anyone and he is expected to be on the ballot come 2025 and he is ready to win.

“The case will be discontinued, but the Vice President will run. That narrative is coming from people trying to save faces,” explained an official.

His follower are in the dark of his next move

The Investigator Magazine has verified that Vice President Chilima is engaged in full fundraising drive locally and internationally in preparation for the 2025 elections.

“The issue is about how do you save face after the case has collapsed, that is why they are bringing such narrative,” said our analyst.

MCP senior officials who were named to have been approaching the veep insisted there was a deal that he should pave the way for Chakwera again and that he could run in 2030 when he will be 56 years old.

“Even minus the deal, he cannot run in 2025,” said a senior MCP official referring to a High Court ruling in 2009 over a case of Former President Bakili Muluzi which said a Vice President cannot run for president. The matter has not been challenged and other legal thoughts indicate that it does not apply to Chilima.

Vice President Justin Malewezi, after a two-term run in 2004 as an independent Presidential candidate.

End of Chilima’s case, the real 2025 campaign starts

Professor Peter Mutharika, presumptive candidate for the former ruling party the DPP is expected to launch his yearlong campaign at Njamba Freedom Park next weekend and if Chilima’s case is off the court, the UTM presumptive candidate Saulos Chilima is likely to hit the political road soon.

MCP declared candidate President Lazarus Chakwera has already been on the road most of this year just as former President Joyce Banda of Peoples Party (PP) who has addressed two well-packed rallies at Area 23 in Lilongwe and Nancholi in Blantyre within the past month.

Chilima’s coming back into the political front line will change the probabilities and configuration of 2025 and his decisions including over alliances and issues to be addressed will be closely watched as he has remained at the side of President Chakwera despite his legal challenges.

Our next stories:

·       MCP uses Salima Sugar, and NEEF loans to buy off MPS. Is it a strategy to remove 50+1? This coming week only in The Investigator Magazine.

·       Will Vitumbiko Mumba be arrested? As the battle for MCP vice president hots up.

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