More delays in Magalasi’s fuel van trial

The State has expressed concern over continued delays by the defence in a case involving former Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) Chief Executive Officer Collins Magalasi and co-accused procurement officer Bright Mbewe regarding the procurement of a mobile fuel testing van.

The development follows adjournment of the matter today to next week Tuesday on the grounds that lawyer representing Magalasi; Andy Kaonga is sick.

Without commenting Kaonga`s illness, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni said the conduct by the counsel raises eyebrows saying that such similar adjournments have happened before.

“As honorable court has indicated, we can`t speculate much on the health of Counsel, but then as the Honourable court has ordered and indicated, there are numerous delays in this matter which are of huge concern on part of the Counsel.

“And that the Honourable court has solely ordered that Counsel [Kaonga] should desist from such conduct of continuously adjourning this matter and that there are numerous delays that are happening,” said Kayuni.

On April 3, 2019, Mera awarded a procurement contract to City Motors, who indicated that they would procure the van on behalf of Mera at a cost of MK704 million.

Later, on May 7, 2019, Mera paid MK563.2 million to City Motors as down payment for the procurement contract sum, which was an 80 percent advance payment.

Irrespective of the payment, City Motors did not either procure or supply the van to Mera throughout 2019.

On Wednesday, the State was supposed to parade three witnesses who were ready to testify before Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa.

“These are witnesses that have information on how the procurement of the fuel testing van at Mera the time it was being procured.

“So, I wouldn’t really say much on their identities but then they will be in court to testify on the 18th,” said the DPP.

Magistrate Chirwa has since adjourned hearing of the matter to next week Tuesday January 18, 2022.

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