ACB wants Chaponda case transferred to Lilongwe: Application hearing on Sept 14

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The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ABC) wants the case involving former minister of Agriculture, George Chaponda, businessperson, Rashid Tayub, and Grace Mijiga Mhango of Grain Traders Association transferred to Lilongwe, a thing defense lawyers say they will protest.

Chaponda: Appeared in Court Chaponda: Appeared in Court

ACB charged Chaponda with corruptly performing public functions and misuse of public office contrary to Section 25A (1), 25B (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act and Regulation 25A (1).

While Tayub is charged with influencing a public officer to misuse his public office contrary to Section 25B (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act and Mhango is likely to be charged with forgery contrary to Section 351 of the Penal Code.

When the matter appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate Simeon Mdeza on Tuesday morning, ACB Deputy Director, Reyneck Matemba, told the court that the bureau will be making an application to consolidate the cases so that they are heard in one place.

Matemba also told the court that State will be applying to have the cases heard in Lilongwe not Blantyre.

During the case hearing, heated debate ensued between Matemba’s team and the defense comprising Tamando Chokhoto-as the lead attorney-Jai Banda, Lusungu Gondwe Frank Mbeta and Madalo, over failure by the State to make Disclosures.

The defense wanted ACB to make Disclosures before applying for the consolidation of the cases.

However, Matemba defended the State’s failure to make disclosures saying the development was hinging on consolidating the cases.

“If the case had been consolidated we would have known which document to serve the defense,” said Matemba.

In an interview, one of the defense lawyers Jai Banda said his team was set to challenge ACB’s move to have the case transferred to Lilongwe, arguing the warrant of arrest for Chaponda and Tayub were executed in Blantyre and that both the accused were Blantyre residents.

But Matemba maintained that there were enough grounds to warrant the transferring of the case to Lilongwe.

According to Matemba, apart from the fact that the offence was committed in Lilongwe, two of the accused persons were Lilongwe residents; 17 of the 24 witnesses to be paraded are based in Lilongwe; the maize in question was at Malangalanga Admarc in Lilongwe and that four witnesses were based in Mchinji which he said was closer to Lilongwe.

“So, in all fairness, the case should be taking place in Lilongwe,” said Matemba.

Meanwhile, Senior Resident Magistrate Simeon Mdeza has set September 14 2017 as the date he will hear the case consolidation application from the ACB.

Magistrate Mdeza also directed that the ACB should make both disclosures to the defense and formal application for the consolidation of the case by August 31st 2017.

Both Chaponda and Tayub were present during the case hearing on Tuesday.

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