High Court Judge Anabel Mtalimanja has dismissed the application by controversial businessman Zameer Karim, who was seeking a review of Chief Resident Magistrate Court’s ruling that allowed the State to add extra charge of money laundering to the accused charge’s sheet.
Karim, who is facing offences committed in 2014, was questioning the legality of state adding another charge despite concluding its prosecution case also applied for a stay of the proceedings in the lower court.
But in her ruling delivered on Friday, Judge Mtalimanja dismissed the application, saying there was nothing irregular or illegal on the Chief Resident Magistrate Court in allowing the Amendment of the Charge sheet by the State to add money laundering charge.
The ruling went further to say that the State was within its powers and mandate and did not abuse its prosecutorial discretion.
She then described the application for review by Karim as premature, saying particularity of the charges was never challenged in the Chief Resident Magistrate court.
Judge Mtalimanja has therefore ordered continuation of proceedings in Chief Resident Magistrate court immediately.
Karim together with Victoria Chanza, EcoBank head of domestic banking, are accused of forging police documents, which helped them secure a K150 million loan from the bank under the pretext that Karim had a contract with the Malawi Police Service.
The two face fraud, forgery and uttering false document charges.
In this case, which is being prosecuted by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, has two witnesses to testify before the State completes its submissions.
Particulars of the case show that Karim and Chanza in August 2015, using his companies — Oil and Protein Company Limited and Pioneer Investments — obtained a K150 million loan from Ecobank using forged documents with a promise to pay back the loan from proceeds of the police food ration deal, but he never did.
Former president Peter Mutharika was also implicated in the food rations scandal after Karim donated K145 million of the proceeds to a bank account of the former governing Democratic Progressive Party fundraising account which Mutharika was the sole signatory.
However, the Anti-Corruption Bureau later cleared Mutharika of any wrongdoing.
In another case, Karim alongside the now deceased former Malawi Police director of finance, Innocent Botomani and deputy director of finance Grant Kachingwe — stand accused of conspiracy to abuse public office and money laundering.
In the case, Karim — trading as Pioneer Investments — is accused of conspiring with Botomani and Kachingwe between December 14, 2014 and September 19, 2019 at the Ministry of Finance in Lilongwe and allegedly stealing K7,431,169,134.74 of public funds.