The Senior Resident Magistrate court in Lilongwe on Tuesday failed to hear the criminal case involving four FISD directors on grounds that the Senior Resident Magistrate, Shyreen Chirwa, who was handling the case has been shifted to another position within the Judiciary.
The four FISD directors are Kondwani Charles Nanchukwa, Frank Mwenechanya (pictured), Moses Chirambo, Arthur Mpama and Daudi Kaunda,
Gift Nakhuni, the lawyer representing the four FISD Directors, said that even though the court last month ordered that the state should submit any document related to the arrest of the directors to commence the case today, no such documents have so far been submitted.
The State prosecutor, for the case Mangani confirmed to have not submitted the relevant documents as per court order as the presiding senior resident magistrate Court was moved to Industrial Relations court.
The spokesperson for the Judiciary Gladys Gondwe that Shyreen Chirwa has been redeployed but was quick to say that that has nothing to do with non-adherence to Court order.
She further said that immediately the magistrate is moved within the Judiciary another magistrate is allocated and the said case has already a new magistrate.
FISD Directors were arrested on 10th November, 2020 by Fiscal police and were remanded at Maula prison for Four days for a double payment erroneously paid by African Development Bank amounting to US$325,731.54 for a Water Construction Project implemented by Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water development.
The state accuses the four of forgery, altering a false document, Obtaining money by false pretence and Money laundering.
Since November, 2020, the Directors are yet to take plea as the state is yet to submit the formal charges.
During bail ruling, the state prosecutor then, Mr. Moja Phiri requested the state to commence the case on 15th December, 2020 and the defence lawyer for the directors requested the court to consider that the state should at least have submitted the disclosures before mention on 15th December, 2020.
Unfortunately, although 15th December was set for mention, the state did not avail itself to the court.
Last Month the defence Lawyer, Gift Nakhuni filed an application to discharge the case as generally the state has always not been serious starting from the actual charge sheet which had different values of US$ 325,731.54 as equivalent to MK623,000,000, the file charges were merely read to the directors but they were not asked to plead to the charges as the state stated that they were merely bringing the accused persons to inform them of the reasons why they were arrested.
In absence of charges, the directors are actually not supposed to be reporting to Police as is the case on bail conditions as they are not yet charged.
In an application Nankhuni filed in February, 2021, he stated that his clients have a right to fair trial which include the right to be tried within reasonable time after being charged.