Court dismiss Batatawala attempt to be discharged from corruption case

By Wadza Botomani

Senior Resident Magistrate Martin Chipofya has dismissed an application by businessman Abdul Karim Batatawala and three others to discharge them from the corruption case they are answering. The four wanted the court to discharge them because the state delayed in serving disclosures to the defense.

In his ruling Chipofya, dismissed the application saying the case has not reached a state where one can say the matter has been delayed. Meanwhile, the court has ordered ACB to serve the disclosures by 31st March 2022.Meanwhile, the case is expected to commence on 25th April 2022.Reacting to the ruling Martha Chizuma ,Director General of ACB said the bureau is happy that the court has agreed with the ruling.

Lawyer for Batatawala Henry Phoya said his client did not want to be acquitted or the case to be dropped.He said what is clear now is that the state is not ready to try the matter, saying the state should stop arresting people before concluding investigations.

Batatawala and Phoya

Abdul Karim Batatawala and three others have asked the court to discharge them from fraud and money laundering related cases they are being accused of. Batatawala’s lawyer, Henry Duncan Phoya SC, said the application was based on grounds that the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) is not ready to prosecute as it failed to serve them with disclosures by 10 February, 2022 as ordered by the court.

Phoya told the court in Blantyre this morning that ACB has no powers to prosecute matters that are outside the Corrupt Practices Act. ACB Director General, Martha Chizuma, told the court that the Bureau did not have funds to prepare all the disclosures on time and has, therefore, prepared part of them which were served to the defense last Friday. She also says prosecutors who were previously handling the matter have recused themselves “for some reasons”, adding that the Bureau will need 21 days to finalise the disclosures.