Ex-Information Minister Patricia Kaliati, 2 others dragged to court, fails to take plea

By Yamikani Msukwa

Former Minister of Information and civic education Patricia Kaliati, who is being accused of influencing or persuading a public officer to abuse his office in 2009, on Tuesday failed to take plea before Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate due to technical issue regarding the drafting of charges.
Kaliati’s accomplices are former Ministry of Education Assistant chief education officer, Oscar Maganga and her brother, Clement Nkuya.
Kaliati, who is also the parliamentarian for Mulanje West, is facing one count of influencing or persuading or inducing a public officer, Maganga, to abuse his office by admit 77 students into various secondary schools in Shire Highlands Education Division (Shed).
This reportedly happed when she was the minister Gender, Children and Community Development.
Maganga is facing five counts of abuse of office while Nkuya, just like his sister, is charged with one count of influencing or inducing or persuading a public officer.
The three failed to plea after Maganga’s lawyer observed that the charge his client is facing is defective because it has multiplicity of counts.
While lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale, representing Kaliati, told the court that the charge sheet is indicating that all the 77 pupils were admitted in Form One, but the submissions indicate that the pupils were admitted in other classes other than Form One only.
These “technical issues” forced Chief Resident Magistrate Thom Ligowe to adjourn the matter to October 22 expressing optimism that the raised issues would have been dealt with before commencement of trial.

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