Lawyers for George Chaponda and his co-accused Rashid Tayub this morning applied for the vacation of an arrest warrant the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had obtained last week and used yesterday to arrest the former Agriculture minister and the businessman.
In their application, the lawyers, Lusungu Gondwe for Tayub and Madalitso Mmeta for Chaponda argued that the state (through ACB) disobeyed the terms and prescriptions contained in the warrant.
They further argued that by failing to bring the accused before the court upon arresting them, the state hugely undermined both the rule of law and the authority of the court.
However, Chief Resident Magistrate Simeon Mdeza rejected the application but ordered that the state should bring the suspects before the court by tomorrow morning for further determination.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula in an interview with Nation Online refused to say whether Chaponda and Tayub will be spending another night in jail but said the court observed that if it were an issue of bail application the court would have made its determination based on that.
Said Mvula: “Basically what the court also highlighted in its ruling is that if it were for the bail application the court would rightly go ahead and grant it.”
Meanwhile, defence lawyers have now applied for bail application and the court will convene at 4:30 pm today for hearing and subsequent ruling.
Another accomplice in the case Grace Mhango has today been granted bail by Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court after she was arrested in Lilongwe yesterday and spent a night at Lilongwe Police Station.
Chaponda’s arrest has attracted public interest as it involves the role he played in the Zambia maize procurement deal, commonly referred to as Maizegate.