Mpinganjira Free: Zomba Magistrate Quashes ACB Arrest Warrant
Lawyers for FDH Group boss Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira traveled to a magistrate in Zomba city from Blantyre where they have secured a late night court order quashing the whole basis on which the Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested their client in the first place.
The order was issued by Zomba Senior Resident Magistrate Benedicto Chisakamile. Mpinganjira is now free at home after over eight hours in an office at Blantyre Police Station.
“He never stepped his foot in a police cell. All the while, he has been in the office of a senior officer at the station awaiting this process. A warrant has since been served,” a police officer privy to what has been going on confided in Zodiak Online a while ago.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Dr. Mpinganjira Wednesday morning in connection with allegations that some people tried to bribe the five Constitutional Court judges trying the presidential election case so they could sway justice in their favor.
In an interview a while ago ACB Director General told Zodiak Online “I am speechless”. Matemba described what has happened as evidence of a "rotten judicial system" and wondered "why travel all the way to Zomba, why at night, and an ex-parte application?"
The development essentially takes the ACB back to square one when they were preparing to bring Dr. Mpinganjira to Blantyre magistrate court for formal charging Thursday morning.
Immediately after the arrest of Mpinganjira, ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala issued a statement saying:
“On 8th December, 2019, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) received a complaint alleging that some people were attempting to bribe the five judges sitting at the Constitutional Court hearing the Presidential Elections Case.
“The ACB instituted investigations into the matter. On 22nd January, 2020, the Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira in relation to the matter,” she says.
The suspect has so far been moved from the ACB offices to Blantyre Police Station under military police escort.
The development comes after the ACB put its foot down against making public identities of the two individuals whose names were presented in an official letter written by Chief Justice, Andrew Nyirenda to the bureau on behalf of the five constitutional court judges.
The statement by the ACB, however, makes no reference to the second suspected, believed to be a supreme court judge. It is highly likely that there could soon be another arrest.
Mpinganjira has been associated with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and this was manifested at the police station Wednesday when a lot of senior DPP officials came in solidarity.