Bakili Muluzi's graft case in limbo as prosecutor Alex Nampota is not available
The K1.6 billion corruption case involving former President Bakili Muluzi is scheduled to commence in the High Court in Blantyre on Monday next week, according to notice of hearing issued by the court.
However, it is unlikely that the matter will be heard as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director Alex Nampota may not be available to prosecute the case.
In an interview Tuesday, Nampota said he will appear before Blantyre Magistrates' Court on the same day to honour one of his bail conditions; saying he could therefore not be available to prosecute Muluzi's case at the same time.
"I am still the director," said Nampota in a brief interview when contacted to comment on whether he would prosecute the former head of state at the High Court.
Muluzi is accused of depositing in his personal bank accounts money from the country's donors, a charge he denies. The case has dragged since 2005, when he was arrested.
Nampota was arrested Thursday last week after it was alleged that he pocketed K1.5 million in allowances on a trip he allegedly never undertook.
But the ACB director, who is on bail, is pleading innocence, saying he undertook the trip to United Kingdom after some months.
The arrest of the ACB boss has crippled the body's operations as it has no deputy director, hence it cannot carry out new prosecutions.
The ACB has since said it is still mandated by law to continue with the on-going operations including the prosecution of high profile corruption cases.
In an email, ACB Public Relations Officer, Egrita Ndala said Nampota's arrest will negatively affect the body as it cannot carry out new operational matters.
"In the event that the director for one reason or another is not able to carry out his duties, the Anti- Corruption Bureau cannot carry out new operational matters which have not been authorised by the director or his deputy," Ndala confirmed in the response.
However, Ndala said the law still empowers ACB to go ahead with cases Nampota started in spite of the director's absence and could have been able to commence new cases if it had a deputy director.
"The Corrupt Practices Act stipulates that the director or in his absence the deputy director should authorize investigations. The ACB does not have a deputy director at the moment.
"Cases which are already in court can proceed in the absence of the director," Ndala said.
However, she refused to comment on issues surrounding Nampota's absence from work prior to his arrest, referring questions on the issue to the ACB Director or Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
"Issues of appointment of the Director are between the Director and Government. You may wish to ask the OPC or the Director on this," Ndala said.