The K4 billion corruption case involving former Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) board chairperson Jean Mathanga continues and the High Court has ruled that ESCOM employees and board members can be prosecuted as public officers.
Justice Silvester Kalembera of the High Court in Blantyre made the ruling yesterday.
Suspects in the case include Mathanga, former ESCOM Chief Executive Officer John Kandulu, former Director of Procurement Fanuel Nkhono and Senior Procurement Officer Emilias Kandapo.
They were arrested in July, 2020 by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) following allegations that ESCOM made procurements worth K4 billion without following proper procedures.
Before trial commenced, the accused persons argued that they had been wrongly charged by the ACB as public officers. They argued that ESCOM is a not public body based on the ruling by Justice Mbvundula in The Republic v Kandionamaso Padambo, in Criminal Appeal No. 91 of 2009.
However, the state argued that among others, ESCOM Ltd is a public body as it is fully owned by the Malawi Government with a shareholding of 100%.
On 25th May, 2021, the High Court in Blantyre ruled that Electricity Supply Company of Malawi is a public body.
Justice Silvester Kalembera ruled that: “All in all, ESCOM Ltd is a State-Owned company hence a public body. Being a public body, its employees are public officers in as far as the CPA and the Penal Code are concerned. So too members of its Board are public officers.”
Meanwhile, the accused will appear in Court from 9th to 12th June, 2021 for trial.