Hearing of a case involving top banker Thom Mpinganjira resumed on Thursday at the Commercial Court in Blantyre, where it was heard under video conferencing.
The case, in which Mpinganjira is being accused of attempting to bribe five Constitutional court judges during the hearing of the disputed 2019 presidential election, has temporarily shifted to the Commercial Court to allow for video conferencing, as the presiding judge Dorothy DeGabriella is in Lilongwe.
However, the video conferencing became contentious as the defence attorney Patrice Nkhono
was of the view that it was not legal as there were no laws provided for on the same.
Nkhono also argued that the rights of his client were being infringed upon as there was no public
access and also that the judge would not be able to access the demeanor of witnesses as she was not physically available in the court.
But in counter- arguing, ACB director Rayneck Matemba told the court that the public and the media had access to the proceedings of the case.
And on the judge’s ability to assess the demeanor of the witnesses, Matemba left it to DeGabriella to make a ruling.
And in her ruling, the judge said it was not the first time the case was heard through video
And to demonstrate that she was able to assess the behaviour of witnesses, DeGabriella asked
Mpinganjira why he was playing with his mobile phone.
“My lady, I am taking notes,” responded Mpinganjira. On which the judge said: “I was only trying to make a point to your lawyer that I am able to assess everyone in that court room. Video conferencing doesn’t mean that the court is incapacitated.”
The judge then ruled that the hearing will continue through video conferencing.