State witness in the Thom Mpinganjira bribery case Justice Michael Tembo says the suspect told him that he had been lending money to various political parties in the country including Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Tembo said this on Thursday when he testified in the case in which Mpinganjira is accused of offering over K100 million to Tembo and four other judges who were presiding over the presidential elections case.
Hearing of the case resumed today in Blantyre but Judge Dorothy DeGabrielle followed the case through video conferencing from Lilongwe.
Tembo earlier told the court that Mpinganjira called him several times to check if the money was reaching the judges, to get access to lead Judge Healy Potani and to give Tembo a parcel.
Mpinganjira’s lawyer Fostino Mayere during the cross-examination asked Tembo if Mpinganjira had told him which parties he was lending the money to.
Tembo said Mpinganjira, who was FDH Bank boss at the time the suspected crime was committed, told him that he was lending money to the DPP and other parties like MCP.
Tembo also told the ourt that he was surprised by Mpinganjira’s generosity because the suspect had never given money in the past.
“In all the conversation that l had with him. I never asked him for money. I wondered where his generosity was coming from to give us money to share with the rest of the judges. He has never given me money, even when l did not have a single Tambala,” said Tembo.
When Mayere suggested that Mpinganjira was a whistleblower as he had revealed other people’s attempts to bribe judges, Tembo said Mpinganjira would have reported to police or Anti-Corruption Bureau if that were true.
However, Tembo admitted that he did not report Mpinganjira’s bribery attempts to ACB within 48 hours in order to protect him.
“I discussed the issue at length with my colleagues in the case and we agreed that we should finish the trial first. And we eventually reported,” he said.
Tembo and Mpinganjira knew each other as they go to the same church but Tembo told the court that he does not consider Mpinganjira a friend because the suspect tried to mess up his job.
The case has since been adjourned to November 23 when Justice Healy Potani will testify in court.
Mpinganjira is accused of attempting to bribe the five judges in order to rule the 2019 Presidential elections case in favour of former President Peter Mutharika.