By Staff Writer:
Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) Judge Frank Kapanda has reserved his ruling in a case which jailed businessman Thom Mpinganjira is appealing against a High Court ruling which dismissed his application for bail pending appeal.
In December last year, High Court Judge John Chirwa dismissed with costs Mpinganjira’s bail application pending hearing of an appeal against both his conviction and sentence.
On Thursday, Mpinganjira’s lawyer Alex Nampota told the SCA that the convict deserves bail because there is a possibility that his appeal against the conviction and sentencing will be successful.
Further, he said there is clear evidence by Justice Healy Potani that Mpinganjira did not offer money to the judges and that the convict was not given fair trial as he was not allowed to interject and consult in the lower court.
Nampota told the court that Mpinganjira needs to be granted bail pending appeal because there is likelihood that the appeal process will delay as there are only four justices of the Supreme Court of Appeal presently, saying seven justice are required to hear an appeal
However, State lawyer Victor Chiwala prayed for a dismissal of the application saying it lacked merit as it was supposed to come after the hearing of the appeal.
He said since he was jailed, Mpinganjira has never asked for permission to seek medical assistance locally or outside the country.
On the issue of SCA Judges, Chiwala argued that the Chief Justice can always vary a practice procedure that requires more than seven judges to hear an appeal and that the law also allows three justices to hear an appeal.
Mpinganjira is serving a nine years sentence after High Court Judge Dorothy DeGabrielle convicted him of attempting to bribe five judges of the High Court of Malawi who presided over the historic May 21 2019 presidential election nullification petition.