2024-06-13

What’s The Meaning When High Court Dismissed Two Charges Against Vice President Chilima?

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Introduction

On Friday January 12, 2024 High Court Judge Redson Kapindu made a ruling on an application by the defence for the court to dismiss charges against Chilima. In his ruling, Kapindu only dismissed two counts of breach of trust by a public officer, saying the State introduced the charges after the prescribed period had expired.

Interpretation Of Dismissed Charges

First, When you’ve been charged with a crime and your freedom and livelihood are on the line, there’s nothing better than hearing the words, “Case Dismissed.” Getting criminal charges dismissed before trial is definitely a best-case scenario for a defendant, but is it really the end of your legal issues? Here’s a look at answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the dismissal of criminal charges. Vice President Saulos Chilima just have felt good hearing the words, “Case Dismissed.” The court made his day and even the photographs could tell the untold story. You can imagine how he felt after this pronouncement was made.

Secondly, When a criminal case is dismissed, then it is over with no finding of guilt or conviction. Legal action has been terminated and the state is not moving forward with the prosecution — at least for now. A case can be dismissed at any time during the process, including before trial, during trial, or even after trial (if a convicted defendant wins on appeal.) In other words, the vice president has been found innocent on two dismissed charges simply because they filed after the expiry period. SKC could be guilty on those. The VP might have committed the crime only that the court did not find enough evidence to incriminate him.

Thirdly, The prosecuting attorney and the judge are the only ones with the power to dismiss a criminal case. Because the prosecutor filed the charge, they also have the discretion to dismiss it if they believe the facts and circumstances warrant it. Likewise, a judge can dismiss the case if they find no legal basis for the charge, if the defendant’s rights have been violated, or if the state has failed to prove its case. Judges can dismiss a case either on their own motion or on the motion of the defendant. Most charges, however, are dismissed by prosecutors, not judges. As for the Chilima case , 2 charges have been dismissed by the judge, and not the prosecutor.

Fourthly, There are a number of reasons why a prosecutor or a judge may dismiss a criminal case. A skilled defense attorney will be able to identify legitimate grounds for dismissal. They include but aren’t limited to: The statute of limitations has expired. The defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial has been violated. Prosecutorial misconduct. Witnesses are uncooperative or the victim recants. Scientific analysis, such as DNA test results, reveals new information. The defendant has agreed to work with the government in exchange for a dismissal. Violation of the double jeopardy clause. Prosecutorial discretion. Without beating about the bush, the Chilima defense attorney was skilled and able to identify legitimate grounds for dismissal.

Fast backwards

The State Vice President and leader of the UTM party, Saulos Chilima, in June 2022 openly told his supporters that it was time to suspend humility and deal with problems as they arose, signaling an impending start of civil war in the Tonse Alliance. Chilima, who partnered with President Lazarus Chaklwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in the 2020 fresh elections, made the remarks in that month while addressing his supporters who converged at his residence in a bid to block Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) from arresting their leader.

There were rumors that morning in June that the ACB was planning to arrest the Vice President since it was believed that he engaged in corrupt transactions with businessman Zuneth Sattar. Speaking to his fans, Chilima lamented the fact that after having humbled himself in 2020, people now had started taking him for granted, in an apparent reference to President Chakwera’s decision to withhold his delegated duties on corruption allegations.

On 25th November, 2022, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima on allegation that between March 2021 and October 2021, he received advantage in form of money amounting to USD 280,000 and other items from Zuneth Sattar as a reward.” the bureau said.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the success or failure of each and every case solely depends on the evidence available and provided in the court of law. Currently, we do not know how much evidence the state has against the VP in this particular and very interesting case. The success of the Chilima case depends on evidence to be provided by the state. There are several consequences to bribes at work. If guilty of bribery, penalties could include up to ten years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. The VP could also face prosecution and be liable to pay a fine. However, any court case which government loses in court is likely to attract huge compensation on the defendant (the VP.)

Vice President Saulos Chilima is still facing three major corruption charges after which the High Court in Lilongwe dismissed two charges. Chilima is alleged to have received bribes from businessperson Zuneth Sattar.

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