Malawi businessman back in court over alleged bribery
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RUSTENBURG - Businessman Thomson Mpinganjira, who is accused of attempting to bribe judges in the disputed Malawi presidential election case, wants the judge to recuse herself.
He appeared briefly in the High Court in Blantyre on Tuesday.
According to Malawi media, he applied for the presiding judge, Dorothy DeGabriel, to recuse herself, citing a number of irregularities.
The court rolled the matter over to Wednesday for DeGabriel to rule on whether or not she would step aside from hearing the case, daily newspaper The Nation reported.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested Mpinganjira in January 2020 after receiving a complaint on December 8, 2019, that some people were attempting to bribe the judges in the election case.
The Constitutional Court ordered fresh presidential polls after it found that the election of May 21, 2019, was riddled with several irregularities.
This was after Vice-President Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera presented evidence of such irregularities to the court.
President Peter Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission challenged and appealed the matter to the country’s highest court.
Mpinganjira is accused of offering judges bribes to rule in favour of Mutharika and the MEC.
Mutharika and the MEC lost the case as the court nullified the 2019 presidential elections. The two also lost their appeal at the supreme court.
Chakwera won the fresh election with about 60% of the votes.
On October 22, 2020, news website Malawi24 reported that Mpinganjira wanted to enter into a plea bargain but withdrew the application in December 2020.
According to Nyasa Times, his lawyer, Patrice Nkhono, said they withdrew the application because the charges against Mpinganjira were not speaking to evidence presented in court.