Mbeta accuses Chilima’s lawyer of harassing Ben Phiri

Lawyer representing President Peter Mutharika in the presidential elections case Frank Mbeta on Monday accused Saulos Chilima’s lawyer of harassing witness Ben Phiri in court.

Mbeta made the remarks after Chilima’s lawyer Chikosa Silungwe expressed concern that Phiri was using reference material during re-examination.

Ben Phiri

“Would the court ascertain that the witness is actually not reading from a prepared script?” Silungwe said.

One of the five judges hearing the court asked Phiri if he was checking any materials to which Phiri responded that he wasn’t.

The query however did not please Mbeta who accused Silungwe of harassing the witness.

“On the issue raised by Dr Silungwe, this is the second time he has questioned whether the witness has any script with him, I think it would amount to harassing the witness to make a similar allegation without verifying first,” said Mbeta.

The judges said the issue will be discussed in the chambers tomorrow but reminded the lawyers that similar issues arose when witnesses for petitioners Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera were presenting evidence.

Phiri who is Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Director of Elections has been presenting evidence in court since last week.

In his sworn statement, he claimed that all duplicate result sheets used in the May 21 Elections were signed by all monitors.

On Monday morning, Mordecai Msisha who is lawyer for Chakwera cross-examined Phiri when he showed him duplicate result sheets which were not signed by monitors.

In the afternoon, Mbeta started cross-examining Phiri and he is expected to finish on Tuesday.

In the elections case, Chakwera and Chilima are asking the court to nullify results of the May 21 polls saying the outcome was affected by massive irregularities.

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