The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court has granted defence lawyers more time to scrutinise the evidence tendered by National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) deputy chief executive Helen Buluma in the fuel import deals case.
Presiding over the case in his previous capacity as chief resident magistrate, High Court of Malawi Judge Patrick Chirwa granted the defence their wish yesterday.
The development meant that the defence could not proceed with the scheduled cross-examination of Buluma.
The court’s decision followed a resubmission of the bid to have more time by the defence after being rejected on Tuesday.
The case has since been adjourned to June 27 2022.
In an interview, one of the defence lawyers Khumbo Soko said there are many documents and the first witness took more days to testify, as such, there was need for the defence team to also have ample time to go through the evidence.
He said: “We were not ready with the cross-examination. Even though yesterday we had addressed it on the point, today we reiterate our prayer. We just cannot do this today. There is a lot of material that this witness provided to the court, including documents.”
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Martha Chizuma said the bureau was served with a request for another adjournment.
She said the ACB has three more witnesses to testify, but will not take much time.
In the case, former minister of Energy Newton Kambala, Alliance for Democracy president Enock Chihana and former presidential aide Chris Chaima-Banda were arrested on August 9 2021 for allegedly attempting to influence Nocma officials to award fuel supply contracts to Orxy, Finergy and Trifugira.