Malawi: Mpinganjira Spends Night in Cooler After ACB's Re-Arrest, to Seek Bail

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29 January 2020

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Tuesday evening re-arrested business tycoon Thom Mpinganjira in connection with an alleged attempt to bribe High Court of Malawi judges set to deliver judgement in the presidential election nullification petition case after the High Court of Malawi faulted Zomba's Magistrate Court order that quashed his initial warrant of arrest.

The re-arrest comes o ne week after the graft-busting body initially picked Mpinganjira for his alleged role in the attempt.

ACB director general Reyneck Matemba said Mpinganjira would be taken to a magistrate court on Wednesday to be formally charged and he can have his bail bid.

"We will formally charge him [Wednesday] at 9am and will also proceed with bail application hearing," said Matemba.

The High Court dismissed the order given by Zomba-based principal resident magistrate Ben Chitsamile on the midnight of January 22 2020, cancelling the initial warrant the Lilongwe Magistrate's Court had granted the ACB, saying it was illegal, incorrect and improper.

In her judgement, Judge Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga said the Zomba Magistrate midnight order was irregular because the file that Chitsakamire had based his ruling on had insufficient information and missing documents.

The High Court has also ordered High Court of Malawi and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal registrar to refer private practice lawyer Lusungu Gondwe and Zomba principal resident magistrate Chitsamile to Judicial Service Commission for disciplinary action over the manner the initial warrant of arrest was quashed.

In the case, two of the presidential candidates in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections--UTM Party's Saulos Chilima (the first petitioner) and Malawi Congress Party candidate Lazarus Chakwera (the second petitioner)--want the court to nullify presidential election results, the five-judge panel comprising Healey Potani, Ivy Kamanga, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu and Mike Tembo have indicated that they would deliver their judgement on Monday February 3 2020.

The petitioners wants fresh elections over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system. Incumbent President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party, who was declared winner of the elections, is the first respondent with Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) as the second respondent.

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