LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse administration is stammering for failing to commerce the fraud charges leveled again four Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (FISD) Limited directors three months after their releases on bail.
FISD directors namely Frank Mwenechanya, Arthur Mpama, Moses Chirambo and Kondwani Nanchukwa since were released on bail Friday, November 13, 2020, the state has failed to show up at court with formal charges.
Consequently, the state through prosecutor Levi Mangani on Friday, March 5, 2021 pleaded with Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate Court for more 30 days to finalise its investigations on the matter.
Senior Resident Magistrate Shyreen Chirwa thereafter accepted the state’s plea and adjourned the case to April 6, 2021 with caution that the state be serious on the matter.
Surprisingly, Magistrate Chirwa warned that the case will commerce with holding charges if the state will not bring evidence on the next hearing.
This is strange considering that the any case can not commerce without full recorded charges before the court.
The state’ plea for more days comes after Fisd Limited Company lawyer, Gift Nankhuni applied for the case’s discharge arguing the state “is not serious and ready to prosecute the case”.
Nankhuni expressed worrisome over delays of the case hearing commencement due to the state’s elusiveness, is affecting his clients’ business.
Apparently, the Fisd directors case was first adjourned to December 15,2020 where, according to Nankhuni, the state never turned up.
“Even now the state has not obtained the date for hearing. Their charges were just holding charges. Otherwise, there are no real charges that the accused can face in this case. The state is not ready,” Nankhuni told journalists outside the court.
He added: “Honestly, we are worried that there is no progress in this case. However, we are hopeful that on 6 April, the state will be ready. If nothing will happen, we will then apply for a full discharge of the case because we want our clients to go back to their business”.
Efforts to talk to state prosecutor, Mangani, proved futile as he was still in the chamber prosecuting other cases.
This is contrary to the haste arrests the state made to the four as expected.
Last month, The Maravi Post exclusively exposed how stammering the Tonse government has been on the case.
Recently, the country’s civil right body Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Gift Trapence accused Tonse administration institutions including Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB),police, Director of Public Persecution (DPP) for arresting people on corruption and fraud grounds without committing or ready with evidence to conclude cases.
The arrests came after industrial court faulted Malawi government through Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development for unfairly terminating a contract for FISD Limited Company under contract No. 021/SRWIHL/W/2017/015a-LOT 1 for the rehabilitation, and expansion of three gravity fed water systems in Ntcheu district.
The project is titled “Sustainable Rural Water Infrastructure for Improved Health and Rural Livelihoods Project”.
The contract valued at MK2.4 billion commenced on December 12, 2017 and was supposed to complete on December 12, 2018.
This publication understands that towards project completion period FISD through the project consultant requested for contract extension as the client wanted the contractor to do some additional works which were not part of the initial contract.
Among other works done including construction of water points and associated connection pipelines from water points to main lines.
The state is yet to justify the arrests to made to FISD directors without enough evidence but only personal vendetta that aimed at bashing their business empire.