The High Court in Malawi on Monday dropped corruption charges against the country’s former president Bakili Muluzi, who was accused of abusing donor funds amounting to 11 million U.S. dollars during his tenure of office from 1994 to 2004.
Muluzi was arrested by the country’s graft-busting body in July 2006 (and released on bail) on the charges and the cases dragged on for years.
The Court’s decisive move followed a certificate of discontinuance of the case that the country’s Director of Public Prosecutions Masauko Chankakala issued on May 26 for the court to drop the charges.
Malawian Minister of Information and Digitalization Moses Kunkuyu confirmed the development in a brief statement, emphasizing that the former President “is now a freeman.”
“I can confirm that [Director of Public Prosecutions] Mr. Masauko Chamkakala has been reviewing the Muluzi case to ascertain its prosecutability in the interest of justice and in pursuit of Government’s uncompromising commitment to the rule of law,” wrote the minister. “The outcome of this review is now that the Director of Public Prosecutions has determined that the case be discontinued forthwith and all charges against the former President be dropped.”
The minister noted that for the period that Muluzi stood trial under the past three regimes “billions of taxpayer funds were spent on a case that was inconclusive.”
Meanwhile, the court’s decision has received mixed reactions with some commentators describing it as a big setback to the fight against corruption, while others say it will save the government from further spending of public funds.
Muluzi, now 80, was the first democratic president to rule Malawi after Kamuzu Banda, who ruled the country for about three decades. Muluzi has now teamed up with former Malawian President Joyce Banda in helping Malawians who were displaced by Tropical Cyclone Freddy rebuild their lives. Enditem