The Malawi High Court has thrown out a challenge from the country’s anti-graft body which wanted to stop former president Bakili Muluzi from extending his stay in Britain where he is receiving medical treatment.
Muluzi is accused of diverting $11 million (R86 million) from donors. He was allowed to go to Britain last month to undergo treatment for a prolapsed disc – a medical condition affecting the spine.
But the Anti-Corruption Bureau asked the High Court not to allow Muluzi to extend his stay on suspicion that he was not receiving any treatment in Britain.
“I find the ACB arguments so petty and they have failed to furnish this court with evidence to back their claims and suspicions that Muluzi is not on treatment,” Judge Anaclet Chipeta said.
Muluzi is due back in Malawi in December.
The bureau has been investigating Muluzi for two years on suspicion of siphoning money from Taiwan, Morocco, Libya and other donors.
Muluzi, who has diabetes and high blood pressure, denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a political conspiracy. He was barred from contesting the presidential election in May, which was won by President Bingu Wa Mutharika.
Muluzi was arrested in February and charged with 87 counts of diverting money into his private account, but he is not being detained. He ruled the southern African country for 10 years until 2004.
Muluzi’s lawyer Jai Banda told Reuters that his client’s doctors had proposed that he undergoes surgery in Britain followed by 10-11 weeks of physiotherapy. Muluzi had similar surgery for a prolapsed disc condition two years ago.
Pic: Ex- President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi