The Lilongwe High Court on Wednesday adjourned sentencing hearing of convict Leonard Kalonga who last August pleaded guilty to theft and laundering about K3 billion -Cashgate, the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.
Kalonga, a former tourism officer, was found guilty and convicted of conspiracy to defraud government using forged documents and paid the money to bogus suppliers.
Other charges included laundering of K520 million where he facilitated, abated and aided acquisition of six Scania Marcopolo semi-luxury buses on instruction from then Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo and laundering which were proceeds of serious crime between April and September 2013 with other persons to the tune of K3.2 billion.
The court adjourned the hearing to a later date to give ample time to both the state and defence prepare and study affidavits filed by two Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials.
Both the state and defence asked the court to adjourn the case to a later date to allow the study the affidavits sworn by two ACB officials which they say were filed to them through the court late Tuesday afternoon and they had no time to study them.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale – who is prosecuting the case with the ACB deputy director general Reyneck Matemba – applied to the court to order ACB to release documents which the bureau’s investigators ceased during the search they conducted at Karonga’s office and the graft-busting body has complied by submitting all documents they ceased from Kalonga house.
Kachale argues that the missing document has names of beneficiaries of K4.4 billion ($5.8 million) Cashgate proceeds.
But according to the sworn affidavit which the bureau’s two investigators has filed to the court on Tuesday, they are reportedly denying the allegations that they took a blue or purple bag in Kalonga’s room during the search.
They, however. acknowledge that they did conduct a search and that what they took at his house and office are the documents they have submitted to the court.
Kalonga’s lawyer, Manuel Theu, has since asked the court to allow them cross examine the ACB officials who have sworn the affidavits when the case resume and the defence has said that after cross examining the two they would love to cross examine the convict Kalonga.
Presiding judge Fiona Mwale is yet to hear submissions from the prosecution.
The case has since been adjourned to a later date to be communicated by the court.
The shooting on September 13 2013 of then Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo outside the gate of his Area 43 house in Lilongwe led to revelations of the plunder of resources.
former president Joyce Banda Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor, Baker Tilly, undertook covering the period between April and September 2013 and established that about K24 billion ($31.8 million) was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services not rendered.
In May 2014, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion ($765.3 million) in public funds could not be reconciliated for the period between 2009 and December 31 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :