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Mpinganjira Out on Bail

Dr. Mpinganjira arriving at the court Dr. Mpinganjira arriving at the court - pic by Happy Njalam'mano

Chief resident magistrate’s court in Blantyre has released on bail business mogul, Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira, who is accused of offering advantage to public officers in the ongoing presidential elections case.

Wednesday morning, lawyers for Dr. Mpinganjira applied for bail before the court which formally charged the suspect with three counts of offering an advantage to a public officer between 1 October and 30 November, 2019.

It was understood that Dr. Mpinganjira, on the said period, offered K100 million to Justice Michael Tembo  to give other judges;  Healey Potani, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu and Ivy Kamanga, who are presiding over the presidential case, to decide in favor of respondents who are the Malawi Electoral Commission and President Peter Mutharika.

The suspect has also been charged with other two alternate counts of attempting to induce Justice Tembo and Justice Potani to perform their functions corruptly.

Another charged leveled against him is tempting public officer to abuse public office. The case was adjourned to the same day 3 PM for ruling of the bail application.

When the court resumed in the afternoon, Magistrate Simeon M’deza granted Dr. Mpinganjira the temporary release on conditions that he provides cash bond of K1 million to be deposited into the court account, two non-cash sureties of K3 million, surrender travel documents to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

Dr. Mpinganjira has also been ordered to report to the ACB offices every Monday a fortnight, he should not interfere with witnesses of the case, inform the ACB whenever he wants to travel and pay a K5 million non-cash bond.

Passing the ruling, magistrate Mdeza said that despite that the applicant, ACB, did not object to the bail application, it was within the court’s powers to determine the legality on whether it was in the interest of justice to release the suspect with or without conditions.

He said he also took into consideration that the accused person has a constitutional right to bail, that the right is not absolute and that the interest of justice requires that the suspect avails himself when needed by the court.

Lawyer for the accused, Patrice Nkhono, paraded two sureties to the witness box, starting with Dr. Peter Mpinganjira, young brother to the suspect.

After the surety made his submission, ACB Director General, Reyneck Matemba, objected to the surety on grounds that he signed the affidavit that was used for the suspect’s lawyers to obtain a faulted order at Zomba magistrate’s court that cancelled a warrant the ACB used to arrest the accused.

This forced legal team for the defendant to look for another surety for replacement.

The two sureties then made their submissions to the satisfaction of the ACB director.

The court has been adjourned sine die.

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