Mutharika: Twice Beaten
The High Court says there exists no restriction notice for which former president Peter Mutharika sought an order unfreezing of his bank accounts by the Anti Corruption Bureau.
High court judge R. Mbvundula has, therefore, dismissed Mutharika's application describing it as "moot". But Mutharika finds himself back to square one as he still can't access the accounts
Judge Mbvundula observes that the restriction notice which the ACB issued on 6th August 2020 freezing the bank accounts for Mutharika automatically expired on 5th November as the law states that its life-span is three months.
Mbvundula finds that after the expiry of the lifespan of the notice, Mutharika did not need clearance from anywhere to access his bank accounts, as, by law, no restriction existed.
Mutharika applied for the court order on 25th November, 20 days after the ACB restriction notice on his bank accounts had expired.
"It is my view that the need for the court to re-state that which is absolutely clear and not in controversy does not arise. The prayer is moot," says judge Mbvundula in his judgment today.
The irony of the judgment is that while Mutharika had made this application before judge Mbvundula, the ACB renewed the restriction notice in the magistrates' court on 5th December 2020, which notice remains valid today effectively further restricting the former president to access the bank accounts.
"The process by which it was renewed raised controversy, which controversy, in my view, ought to be brought before the magistrate court which granted its renewal... I, therefore, refrain from resolving that controversy," Mbvundula says.