The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has dropped K1.7 billion corruption charges against former president Bakili Muluzi and his co-accused, Lyness Violet Whiskey, in a surprising act that seemed to have been orchestrated by top government officials.
ACB prosecutors deputy director Reyneck Matemba and his colleague State lawyer Chrispin Khunga on Thursday morning quit the case, apparently due to lack of objective material evidence Against Muluzi and Whiskey, putting to end the 10-year case.
The case dates back to 2006 and has failed to reach conclusion due to numerous adjournments mainly attributed to the Muluzi’s ill health.
Judge Maclean Kamwambe granted the ACB’s wishes and signaled that the State has abandoned the case, allowing Muluzi’s lawyers led by Tamando Chokotho to apply for his discharge.
The court is expected to make the ruling on the discharge application on a later date. Chokotho said it was senseless to proceed with the case when the State had abandoned it.
Trial for the case resumed on April 11th, 2016 and over K100 million was deducted from the K1.7 billion which Muluzi and Whiskey- his former personal assistant- were accused to have fraudulently acquired.
Whiskey is said to have been handling Muluzi’s bank transactions such as deposits when he was in power.
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.
Muluzi served as the country’s second president from 1994 to 2004.