The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) prosecutors in former president Bakili Muluzi and Lyness Whiskey K1.7 billion corruption case, pleaded with the High Court to grant them thirty days break to review the charges.
ACB wants to review some of the 15 counts against Muluzi as the availability of witnesses in those counts may not be guaranteed.
The bureau has re-engaged its former employee and now private practice lawyer Clement Mwala as lead prosecutor in case.
After a month of inactivity following the recusal of one of three ACB prosecutors Reyneck Matemba, the case resumed in court on Monday when Judge Maclean Kamwambe demanded evidence of Muluzi’s Commonwealth involvement.
According to his lawyer Tamanda Chokhotho, Muluzi will from July to August this year be engaged on Commonwealth activities.
He asked that the former president be allowed to miss court sessions and only be required to appear in court when there is an assurance of a hearing.
Muluzi and his former personal assistant Violet Whiskey are accused of misappropriating $11 million (the K1.7 billion) when Muluzi was in power between 1994 and 2004.
Government initially claimed Muluzi, who was first arrested in 2006 and again in 2009, diverted donor money into his personal account. The money was allegedly from countries like China, Libya, Morocco and others.
But the former president has always denied wrong doing saying no foreign country would deposit donor money in a personal account. He claimed the case was trumped up for political reasons. Whiskey has also denied the charges leveled against her.
Whiskey is said to have been handling Muluzi’s bank transactions such as deposits when he was in power.
Trial for the case resumed on April 11th, 2016 and over K100 million was deducted from the K1.7 billion which Muluzi and Whiskey were accused to have fraudulently acquired.
Since trial began over K100 million (about $145 483) has been deducted from the K1.7 billion.
The K100 million deductions, among others, include money from Muluzi’s Ntaja Trading and Distributors and loans from Loita Investment Bank as well as Stanbic Bank (now Standard Bank) which he got for the construction of Keza Office Park.
The case dates back to 2006 and has now taken about 10 years due to numerous adjournments mainly attributed to the Muluzi’s ill health. Muluzi served as the country’s second president from 1994 to 2004.