Malawi President Arthu Peter Mutharika (APM) has distanced himself from from unscrupulous individuals who attempted to bribe Constitutional Court judges presiding over the presidential election case.
Mutharika says he is “completely dismayed” by the alleged attempt.
His statement follows the arrest of FDH Bank founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thom Mpinganjira, on accusation that he tried to palm-oil the judges.
Mpinganjira was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday last week following a tip by the Chief Justice, Andrew Nyirenda.
Mpinganjira, who has previously been accused by activists as a DPP supporter, maintains his innocence.
But Mutharika, while speaking through his lawyers in the presidential case currently in the High Court which is sitting in Lilongwe as the Constitutional Court, said he was “completely dismayed by the said alleged efforts at bribing the Honourable Judges presiding in the Constitutional Case”.
Mutharika has distanced himself from the alleged bribery attempt saying he “strongly believes the judiciary must be allowed to decide cases without pressure, inducements or extraneous factors”.
He also condemned “any alleged efforts or attempts by any of the parties to influence the judges in discharging their judicial responsibilities”.
Mutharika has since called on other parties involved in the case to respect the independence of the judiciary to exercise their duties “purely based on the facts properly adduced before [the court] and the applicable laws”.
Thom Mpinganjira is currently out after being controversially released at around midnight after Ben Chitsakamile, a magistrate in Zomba, issued an order cancelling his warrant of arrest.
ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba called the court order as disgusting and an abuse of court process as activists raised the alarm on possibilities of judge shopping.
“This is disgusting. Abuse of court process. It exposes how rotten the judiciary is,” Matemba said.
Meanwhile, the High Court is reviewing Chitsakamile’s order .
An inter-parte hearing which started today is being presided over by Judge Dorothy Nyakaunda. The court wants to get to the root of the matter with Judge Nyakaunda seeking clarification from lawyers for both Mr Mpinganjira and the ACB.
Mpinganjira is being represented by RITZ law firm where Bright Theu, one of the lawyers representing Saulos Chilima in the presidential court case, serves as a managing partner.
The case continues tomorrow at 2pm in Blantyre.