The Chief Resident Magistrate court in Blantyre has refused to cancel warrant of arrest for former minister of agriculture, irrigation and water development George Chaponda who is suspected to have had a role in dubious transactions during the purchase of maize from Zambia last year.
Chaponda through his lawyers Jai Banda and Madalitso M’meta on Thursday asked the court to revoke the warrant of arrest which was granted to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
The lawyers argued that the state through the ACB disobeyed terms contained in the warrant.
“ACB refused, neglected, ignored or otherwise deliberately failed to comply with the warrant requiring the ACB to produce the said applicants before the court upon arresting them,” the defence team said.
They also argued that the ACB undermined both the rule of law and the authority of the court.
But making his ruling on Thursday afternoon, Chief Resident Magistrate Simeon M’dedza argued that ACB is worked within its legal mandate to have Chaponda arrested.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi24 after the ruling, Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said Chaponda will appear in court again tomorrow morning.
“Like I said in the morning that lawyers for the accused did apply to suspend the warrant of arrest, So this afternoon the chief resident magistrate has ruled that the court cannot suspend the warrant of arrest but has ordered the Anti-Corruption Bureau to bring the suspects tomorrow,” said Mvula.
Chaponda will be freed if the ACB fails to take him to court on Friday at 9:00Am.
The former minister was arrested on Wednesday following investigations into the maize purchasing scandal and he faces charges of corruptly performing public functions, misuse of public office and possession of foreign currency contrary to sections 25 (A) and 25 (B) of the Corrupt Practices Act and regulation 25 A (1) of the exchange control regulations as read with section 3 of the Exchange Control Act respectively.