By Molaole Montsho
Former Malawian presidential aide Norman Chisale has been cleared of attempted murder charges on Friday, Malawi media reported.
Chisale was accused of shooting Sigele Amani on May 20 last year in Blantyre. At the time, he was the bodyguard to former president Peter Mutharika, news website Malawi24 reported.
Judge Sylvester Kalembera discharged him at the Lilongwe High Court, stating that the State had failed to provide evidence that Chisale intended to kill Amani.
Police detective Henry Malange told the court that Chisale had first been charged with accidental shooting, but the charge was amended to attempted murder based on the way the gun had been used.
In her testimony before court, Amani, 36, told the court that Chisale had visited her in hospital and told her that he had shot her accidentally while he was chasing robbers.
Chisale has been arrested several times since Mutharika was voted out in the court-sanctioned presidential election in June 2020.
He was first arrested on charges of fraud and money laundering which relate to the importation of duty-free cement worth about US$6.6 million from Zambia and Zimbabwe between 2018 and 2019, allegedly using Mutharika’s tax number.
He was also arrested for the attempted murder of Amani and later on charges of using a fake certificate to get employed by the Malawi army.
Privately owned radio station Zodiak reported that Chisale’s lawyer, Chancy Gondwe, said they would sue the State following his client’s acquittal.
Meanwhile, independent newspaper The Nation on its online version reported that the Lilongwe High Court on Thursday dismissed an application by Mutharika and former secretary to the president and cabinet Lloyd Muhara to stay execution of order for costs pending review of assessments of costs.
The court had earlier ordered Mutharika and Muhara to pay about US$86,933 (K69.5 million) as legal costs related to their attempt to force Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice Edward Twea to go on leave pending retirement.
Lawyers for the Malawi Law Society, Human Rights Defenders Coalition and Association of Magistrates in Malawi asked the court to order the two to personally meet costs of the case.
The two made an application for stay of execution of the order for costs. ANA