BLANTYRE, MALAWI— |
It has been almost a decade since former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi was arrested on corruption charges, but his trial has made little progress. A judge will rule Friday on another request for a 30-day postponement.
Muluzi, 73, and his former personal secretary, Lyness Whiskey, are accused of stealing 1.7 billion Malawian kwacha ($12 million) during his 1994-2004 presidency. The funds came to Malawi as aid from Taiwan, Morocco and Libya.
The former president has always said the charges were politically motivated.
The lead prosecutor in the case recused himself a month ago, citing personal reasons. The trial was to resume Monday, but the new prosecutor said a key witness was not available and asked the judge for 30 days to review the charges.
Tamando Chokotho, the lead defense counsel, also said he would need more time to prepare.
“You should realize that this is quite a bulky matter," Chokotho said. "It involved a lot documents and a lot of evidence. And if the case is changing in any way, we will need quite some time to prepare fully.”
The trial opened in 2009 but has been subjected to several adjournments, partly because of Muluzi’s hospitalizations related to spinal problems. Both sides reject allegations that they have been deliberately delaying proceedings.
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