The High Court in Blantyre yesterday failed to proceed with a review of the case involving Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika and others to give more time to private practice lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale who has joined the defence team.
No date has been set for the commencement of the hearing.
The Attorney General wants the High Court to review the decision by the magistrate’s court to refer the perjury case against Mutharika, former chief secretary to the government Bright Msaka and former Cabinet ministers Goodall Gondwe and Jean Kalilani back to the High Court.
When the court sat yesterday morning, lawyers for Mutharika and others, Frank Mbeta and Noel Chalamanda, expected the case to be heard before three panel judges since it was constitutional in nature.
However, Mbeta and Chalamanda asked for adjournment to the afternoon after it was established that one judge, Dunstan Mwaungulu, would hear it.
In the afternoon, the case went into the judge’s chamber where it was announced that Kaphale has joined.
“Because of that, the court has adjourned and no new date has been set,” said Mbeta.
Mutharika and others are answering treason and perjury charges over what transpired after the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012.
However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) withdrew the perjury case from the High Court to the magistrate’s court and retained the treason case at the High Court.
But chief resident magistrate (CRM) Ruth Chinangwa sent the case back to the High Court and accused the DPP of not first sending the matter to the Legal Affairs Committee as per constitutional requirement.
However, Attorney General Anthony Kamanga wrote a letter, dated 21th May 2013, to the High Court asking it to review the decision by the CRM whose case took place yesterday.
In an interview, Mbeta wondered why the AG wrote the letter when that responsibility should have been handled by the DPP. Mutharika, in his affidavit, accused the AG of interference.