Former minister of Agriculture George Chaponda yesterday walked to freedom once again after the High Court in Zomba sustained an acquittal in the corruption-related case regarding the 2016 Zambia maize purchase.
This followed an appeal by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) against the 2018 Zomba Magistrate’s Court’s verdict that set free one of the then Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweight who was charged with three counts.
Out of the three counts, ACB challenged the magistrate’s decision to free Chaponda on the charge of illegally possessing foreign currency at his residence and also giving false information to the bureau that the money belonged to DPP, the party he was its vice-president responsible for Southern Region.
But having heard oral submissions from both parties on Monday, Judge Redson Kapindu yesterday dismissed ACB’s appeal, arguing the bureau failed to prove its case at the magistrate’s court resulting in the lower court coming up with a verdict based n the law.
There was no immediate comment from ACB, but reacting to the ruling, Chaponda’s lawyer Tamando Chokhoto said in an interview last evening he was not surprised with the court’s outcome because he had raised pertinent issues against the appeal which compelled the court to agree with him.
“We had raised preliminary issues that the appeal was not properly filed and was, therefore, not a competent appeal and the court has agreed with us such that the court could have dismissed the appeal without looking at the merit but it went into the merit as well for the sake of public interest the matter had developed,” he said.
The DPP member of Parliament (MP) for Mulanje South West was arrested in July 19 2017 alongside business-person Rashid Tayub of Transglobe Produce Limited and businessperson and chairperson of Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi (GTPA) Grace Mijiga-Mhango in connection with the Zambian maize procurement transaction.