Convicted businessperson and Rwandan fugitive Vincent Murekezi has taken his battle for freedom to the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.
His move follows a High Court of Malawi dismissal of an application by the State to discharge his request for a judicial review in a case where government wants to send him back to his country.
The Rwandan is wanted in his native land to serve jail sentence for the role he played in the bloody 1994 genocide for which he was tried in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment. He fled to Malawi in 2003.
An application to have Murekezi extradited was initially dismissed by the Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court before the State revived the matter after Malawi and Rwanda signed an extradition treaty that meant that the runaway Rwandan could be sent back to Rwanda.
Stephen Kayuni, senior assistant chief State advocate in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, said in an interview yesterday the matter was heading to the Supreme Court to appeal against the High Court’s determination in refusing to discharge leave.
He said: “The High Court in Lilongwe has granted us leave to appeal against the decision. We have already filed a notice of appeal and we are waiting to set the court record and once that is done the matter will be heard in the Supreme Court.”
Kayuni added that the State already obtained a stay for the decision while the High Court also already granted them leave to appeal.
He said: “Since the two applications were already made and the High Court gave us a go-ahead to appeal what remains now is settling court record then a date will be set for the matter to be heard in the Supreme Court.”
But in a separate interview yesterday, Wapona Kita, one of Murekezi’s lawyers, said the State skipped some stages in the appeal process; hence, as far as they are concerned, there was no appeal.
“What we know is that they have jumped some stages so in as far as we are concerned it’s just as good as there is no appeal, the Supreme Court cannot accept the Murekezi file because of the stages that have been jumped,” he said, without elaborating.
In September last year, High Court judge Ruth Chinangwa ruled in favour of Murekezi that the matter was suitable for judicial review in that the court would have to determine the applicable law for the extradition process and determine the applicable process of extradition.
Besides the extradition case, Murekezi is currently serving a five-year sentence after the Lilongwe Principal Resident Magistrate’s Court found him guilty of corruption last March for evading K2.2 million duty with his company, Sofamu Limited in 2007. n