Court trashes ACB’s application in land case

The Principal Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba has quashed an application by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to commit to the High Court, a case in which former minister Charles Mchacha and three others are answering in relation to illegal sale of land.

On Wednesday, the state applied through Magistrate Nyimba to have the case committed to High Court, a position which was challenged by the defence on the basis that the application was signed by a person who is yet to be confirmed as Director of Public Prosecution.

Ruling on the matter, Magistrate Nyimba agreed with the defence that the application is indeed invalid as argued by the defence.

ACB has since failed to start prosecuting the case because of its failure to secure a certificate of trial within 14 days.

The magistrate has further ordered the state to start the process of prosecution afresh, and that bail conditions for the suspects be dropped.

In an interview, one of the Defence lawyers Chimwemwe Sikwese has commended the ruling saying it is in relation to their arguments they presented before the same Court yesterday.

“We are happy with the ruling, substantially the Court said the procedure taken by the ACB is irregular and invalid thus the matter won’t be transferred to Court so basically we are happy with the ruling,” said Sikwese.

The Court has also directed that offenses under the Penal Code have to proceed after amending the charge sheet.

Responding to the ruling, ACB`s Chief Legal and Prosecution Officer Victor Chiwala said the graft bursting body will proceed with the matter in accordance with directions provided by the Court.

“We have heard the ruling, we have got some reservation the way the Magistrate interpreted the law we will see the way forward, but we will proceed with the case and the Court agreed with once we made clarification,” said Chiwala.

Former Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara. Mchacha and Vuwa Kaunda including former Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Lands Bright Kumwembe were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) over illegal sale of government land to Mchacha at Kanjedza in Blantyre.

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