Cashgate contractor Mahembe pleads not guilty

Cashgate suspect Philbert Mkandawire has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of obtaining money by false pretence and money laundering the K55 million (abpout $130 900) from the Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation for his construction industry, Mahembe Civil Engineering, when it had not rendered any service to government.

Cashgate is a catchword the media is using  for an organised scheme that saw the looting of billions of Kwachas from government coffers.

A  trial of more than 60 people arrested in connection with the scheme is in progress.

Mkandawire is facing counts of money laundering contrary to Section 35(C) of the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act; and three counts of obtaining money by false pretences contrary to Section 319 of the Penal Code.

He denied all the charges.

In his testimony, secretary for the ministry Sandram Maweru said Mahembe Civil Engineering did not appear on the contract register of companies which had business with the ministry.

Maweru also identified four cheque images payable to Mahembe amounting to K14.1 million (about $33 570), K16 million (about $38 000), K16 million and K9 million (about $21 400) which were drawn through FDH Bank.

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