The High Court in Lilongwe has ruled that former budget director Paul Mphiwyo and 18 other people have a case to answer on various charges in connection to the K2.4 billion cashgate.
Justice Esmie Chombo made the ruling today and she set June 15 as the date when trial will begin.
After her ruling, defence lawyers asked the court to suspend the start of the High Court trial for at 60 days pending a hearing at the Supreme Court. The issue before the Supreme Court of Appeal is on whether the High Court is fit to handle the case
But Director of Public Prosecutions Mary Kachale expressed concern that the move was aimed at delaying the case.
Judge Chombo in her ruling rejected the application for stay, saying the hearing of the case will still continue at the High Court.
The other accused persons in the matter include former Accountant General David Kandoje, Steven Phiri, George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda, Andrews Chilalika, Auzius Kazombo-Mwale, Clemence Madzi and Roosevelt Ndovi.
Others are businessperson Stanford Mpoola, Fatch Chungano, Symphathy Chisale, Cecilia Ng’ambi, Stanley Mtambo, Gerald Magareta Phiri and Ndaona Satema.
One of the suspects is businessperson Limumba Karim, who jumped bail and is a fugitive in South Africa will be extradited to face the trial in Malawi.
They face charges which include theft, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud government and abuse of office.