Key witness’ sickness forces adjournment of Muluzi case: defence lawyers worried

The Blantyre High Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of the MK1.7 Billion case involving the first president in multiparty democracy Bakili Muluzi and his ex assistant Lyness Whiskey to Thursday following the absence of key witness Victor Banda who is reportedly to be sick.

The hearing which was supposed to take place on Monday failed after Anti  Corruption Bureau (ACB) Deputy Director Reyneck Matemba told the court that Banda, himself former deputy director, has been sick and will be seeing his doctor on Wednesday and that he would not be present in the court.

Matemba asked the Judge MacLean Kamwambe to adjourn the case or allow the second witness to testify but the defence lawyers Tamanda Chokhotho and Jai Banda objected.

Judge MacLean Kamwambe then adjourned the case to Thursday when the first witness will be present to testify.

However, the defence lawyers protested against the adjournment, accusing the state of dragging the case deliberately which has run close to eight years but Kamwambe defended the move saying health issues cannot be neglected.

The resumption of the case came as court withdrew the initial applications made by Muluzi.

He had applied for a constitutional review in which he was asking the Chief Justice to determine whether the MK1.7 billion theft case answering was to be tried as a constitutional matter not criminal.

For over six years, Muluzi has been answering charges of corruption in which he is accused of squandering public funds amounting to 1.7 Billion Kwacha.

Ironically, Muluzi is enjoying cordial relationship with the current Peter Mutharika led government and his son Atupele Muluzi has been maintained in the 20 member lean cabinet.

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