"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

K1.4 billion saga: Muluzi wants AG out of case


Former president Bakili Muluzi has applied to
the Supreme Court of Appeal objecting to Attorney-General (AG) Jane
Ansah’s appearance in a case where the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)
wants to vacate a stay order the UDF leader obtained restraining the
bureau from questioning him on K1.4 billion donor money that was
deposited in his account.

According to court documents, Muluzi argues that Ansah is ethically
prohibited from appearing as counsel in the case—scheduled for today—
because she once heard and made a determination on the matter when she
was a High Court judge.

In 2005, the ACB summoned Muluzi to interrogate him on how K1.4
billion from foreign governments was deposited into his personal
account when he was in power. But Muluzi obtained an injunction from
the High Court restraining the bureau from questioning him. Justice
Frank Kapanda granted the injunction.

The ACB later applied to the same court to vacate the injunction.
Ansah, who was at the time a High Court judge, presided over the
matter. According to court documents, Ansah vacated the injunction and
denied Muluzi an application for an order stopping the execution of
notices from ACB summoning the former president.

Muluzi appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal and applied for a
stay on the notices. The upper court, presided over by Justice Atanazio
Tembo, granted an order of stay until determination of the
appeal—overturning Ansah’s decision.

In the interim, Ansah was appointed AG.

Earlier this month, the ACB filed in the Supreme Court for an order
to vacate the one Judge Tembo granted. The hearing of the application
was first set for August 15 and Ansah appeared in the matter as counsel
together with ACB director Alex Nampota.

The matter was, however, adjourned to today.

In his preliminary objections filed on Monday by his lawyers Jai
Banda and David Kanyenda, Muluzi argues among other things that it is
improper for one person—Ansah—to act as both judge and advocate in one

"The [AG] as a judge who determined the matter in the High Court
cannot subsequently represent any of the parties in the appeal before
the [Supreme Court]. Similarly, counsel who appears in the matter
before the High Court cannot subsequently sit upon an appeal before the
[Supreme Court] if he [or she] is appointed as a Supreme Court Judge,"
argues Muluzi.

The preliminary objections are expected to be raised during today’s hearing.

In 2006, the ACB arrested Muluzi and charged him with 42 counts of
corruption, theft by public servant and breach of trust. He was later
released on bail without conditions.

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