Over K100 million has been deducted from the K1.7 billion former president Bakili Muluzi and his former personal assistant Violet Whiskey are being accused of having corruptly acquired.
This happened after first prosecution witness, Victor Banda, during yesterday’s hearing of the case at the High Court in Blantyre, agreed that the money should not be part of the cumulative figure as there was no indication it was corruptly acquired.
The K100 million deductions, among others, include K11 million whose method of payment was a loan deposited into Muluzi’s account at Loita Investment Bank and a K80 million loan from Stanbic Bank (now Standard Bank) which Muluzi got for the construction of Keza Office Park.
While cross examining Banda, Muluzi’s lead counsel, Tamando Chokotho, argued that the court does not have material to ascertain that the K1.7 billion was disproportionate to his client’s known sources of income and that he can only be called to explain how he got the money if his known sources of income have been brought before court, arguments which Banda validated as being correct.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director Reyneck Matemba, who is one of the State’s counsels, stood up to argue that the defence was misleading the court and the witness in its cross examination.
Chokotho asked the presiding judge, Justice Maclean Kamwambe, not to allow Matemba say what he wanted to say in front of the witness.
Kamwambe told the two sides to meet in his chamber and sort things amicably and the case continued thereafter the misunderstanding had been ironed out in the chamber.
Speaking in an interview after the hearing, Chokotho said the defence will have to make calculations, which will be done at the time they are making submissions in order to know the exact amount struck off from the K1.7 billion.
“We will have to make the calculations and that will be done at the time that we are making submissions, but so far we have more than K100 million which the witness has actually admitted should not have been on the charge in the first place.
“We are going transaction by transaction and there are lots of transactions and we may not have any figure at all by the end of next week,” said Chokotho.
In a separate interview, Matemba refused to comment of the deductions, saying another witness will clarify the matter and his doing so would be pre-empting the case.
“You might have noticed that we wanted to put a certain thing on record straight but the defence objected, they did not want that issue to come in the public and we will respect that. But a witness will come to clarify that.
“The defence, if you noticed, vehemently objected for us to respond and when we went into the chambers we agreed that the issue has been resolved but on our part, a witness will come to clear that,” said Matemba.
The court adjourned the case, which dates back to 2006, to Monday 18th April.