The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court has set October 28 as the date to start hearing a case in which a former Cabinet minister and two others are accused of influencing the award of fuel supply contracts.
Chief resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa directed that hearing of the case will start on October 28 and will continue on November 1 and 2.
Former minister of Energy Newton Kambala, former presidential adviser on strategy and manifesto implementation Chris Chaima Banda and Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Enoch Chihana are the accused persons in the case.
They are accused of influencing the National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) to award fuel supply contracts for the 2021/22 financial year to particular firms.
The trio appeared before the court on Monday where the direction on how the matter would proceed was given.
During the hearing, one of the defence lawyers George Mtchuka Mwale asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to furnish the defence with Nocma job description handbook or human resource handbook to enable the defence to examine it.
But the ACB called on the defence to check that with Nocma.
The ACB also indicated that it would make amendments to the charge sheet.
Chirwa said he would rule later on the demands put forward.
Speaking in an interview after adjournment, Mwale said the defence expected ACB to furnish them with the documents from Nocma as they prepare for the case
He said: “Our impression is that they have been dealing with Nocma. We cannot request the documents directly from Nocma because that will be interfering with their case.”
ACB director general Martha Chizuma said she does not know what the documents are all about, but said their duty was to bring evidence that will support the case.
“They have asked for that document and the court will make an order on that,” she said.
ACB arrested the three in August this year following a complaint lodged by Nocma deputy chief executive officer Helen Buluma about alleged interference in the process to award fuel contracts.
Among the charges, the suspects are answering are conspiracy to influence a public officer to abuse office and abuse of office.