The High Court of Malawi Financial Division has today ordered the Malawi Defense Force MDF to bring to the Court the alleged ‘sensitive documents’ it has been refusing to disclose in the on going corruption case involving Vice President Saulos Chilima.
Judge Redson Kapindu has ordered that the documents be brought personally to him by 10 o’clock in the morning on January 22 2024 for the Court to decide “whether the information indeed borders on national security or not.”
- The Ruling
In his two hour ruling on preliminary issues this morning, Justice Kapindu said the deciding entity on disclosures is the court not the information holder.
“Much as the court acknowledges the submission that the documents can not be disclosed due to their sensitivity, it is the court that has the exclusive power to determine. The court will not abdcate its role when such need arise,” said Kapindu.
He then ordered MDF to bring the documents to him to ascertain the sensitivity in question and the degree to which they can be used.
- Counts 3 and 5 Dropped
Meanwhile, the Court has discharged Chilima from counts number 3 and 5 bordering on breach of trust by public officers.
According to the ruling by Judge Redson Kapindu, the State introduced the charges after expiry of prescribed period.
The Judge said ACB should have initiated commencement of trial and conclusion of the two counts by July 2022 having recieved the complaint in July 2021.
This means that three counts now remain on the charge sheet where Chilima is accused of demanding unspecified sums of money from Satter.
The defence had argued that “unspecified” was vague and prayed for a clear particular of the offence to which the court ruled that the wording of unspecified was valid to stand the way it is.
The progress of the case, now, highly depends on MDF on whether it will disclose the documents or continue to put its foot down.
Once MDF brings the documents by January 22, 2024 – the court will communicate the next action. In the event that MDF doesn’t bring the documents, the court will also provide direction to the case.