Eligibility of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director for prosecutions David Nyamilandu to practise law in the country came under the spotlight on Wednesday, further derailing resumption of the $11 million (about K1.7bn) graft case against former president Bakili Muluzi.
When the court convened for hearing in Blantyre on Wednesday, one of Muluzi’s lawyers, Kalekeni Kaphale, contended before High Court Judge Mclean Kamwambe that Nyamilandu is ineligible to practise law in Malawi following a recent Constitutional Court ruling.
Kaphale sought clarification on how Nyamilandu was allowed into the bar in view of a ruling barring him from practising.
“We are aware that he is ineligible. Therefore, we would want to be clarified on the basis on which he has acquired the right to be at the bar in view of that ruling,” said Kaphale before Kamwambe summoned the defence and prosecution teams to his chambers for discussion.
After a 30-minute closed-door meeting, Kamwambe told the court that the issue of Nyamilandu’s eligibility to practise turned out to be bigger than it was presented in open court.
Nyamilandu refused to grant an interview on the development.
In 2006, Nyamilandu’s appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was rejected by Parliament because he held an Australian citizenship which he refused to renounce.
Nyamilandu is leading a team of ACB prosecutors comprising Clement Mwala and David Bandawe on the Muluzi case. Muluzi is being accused of allegedly diverting donor money into his personal account.
On July 27 2006, Muluzi was arrested on fraud and corruption charges; he was released on bail later the same day.
Muluzi was initially charged with 86 counts of corruption and abuse of office. They were trimmed to three. He denies the charges.
Muluzi and his co-accused, Lyness Whisky, his former personal assistant, attended the session, but did not enter into the dock.
A frail-looking Muluzi sat in the courtroom with a cushion placed to support his back.