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Bribery storm threatens to prolong the Malawi presidential elections court case

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On Monday, 13 January 2020, it was found that a bribery scandal has rocked Malawi’s eagerly-awaited presidential election challenge amid allegations that unnamed individuals tried to influence the outcome of the court case.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is investigating a complaint by Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda.

The claim by Nyirenda alleges that certain individuals tried to bribe members of the five-judge Constitutional Court panel presiding over a petition by Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera and United Transformation Movement (UTM) President Saulos Chilima challenging the outcome of the presidential elections held in May 2019.

ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba said that the bureau is taking the allegations seriously and wants to urgently finalise investigations to ensure that the bribery scandal does not overshadow the ongoing court case.

Finer details of Nyirenda’s complaint have not been made public and neither has Matemba released the names of the individuals at the centre of the bribery storm.

Chakwera and Chilima want the Constitutional Court to nullify President Peter Mutharika’s re-election and call for fresh elections, citing irregularities in the conduct of last year’s poll.

The court has until February to make a ruling on the matter.

The bribery allegations have the potential to prolong the court case if it is proven that, indeed, there were individuals who wanted to clandestinely influence the judges’ decision.

– APA

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