The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) yesterday said it will continue the K1.7 billion corruption trial involving former president Bakili Muluzi after the lead prosecutor Reyneck Matemba recused himself from the case.
Matemba told the High Court in Blantyre on Thursday he was recusing himself from the case on personal grounds.
‘‘For the record, those factors have nothing to do with the first accused or second accused,’’ Matemba told the court.
The case has been running since 2009 and trial resumed on April 2016. Muluzi and his co-accused, his former personal assistant Lyness Violet Whisky, are accused of fraudulently acquiring $11 million (K1.7 billion) when Muluzi was in power between 1994 and 2004.
In an interview ACB director Lukas Kondowe said the ACB will map the way forward on how to continue with the prosecution case.
Said Kondowe: ‘‘The bureau will map the way forward after reviewing the case with the legal team.’’ He insisted the case will continue.
Matemba’s recusal from the case prompted the defence team led by Tamando Chokotho to ask the court to discharge the accused arguing the State had no prosecutor. He argued that in criminal proceedings, there is a requirement that matters must have specific dates and that they must be heard within those specific dates.
Judge Mclean Kamwambe, who said he had been taken unawares with the application for recusal, reserved the ruling on whether to discharge the case.
Asked if he had been pressured to recuse himself, Matemba said no one instructed him to drop the case.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu told Weekend Nation on Thursday he was surprised that Matemba had recused himself from the case.
Muluzi, Malawi’s president from 1994 to 2004, was arrested in 2005 by the ACB for allegedly diverting into his personal accounts donor money amounting to $11 million from the Kingdom of Morocco. n