Chaponda’s shaft of light in court: ACB  lead investigator changes tune, says no basis for arrest

The last State witness in the case   involving former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda and two others has  told Zomba Magistrate Court that there was no enough evidence to arrest  Chaponda.

Chapondae had a good day in court as State witnesses end their testimony

.ACB Principal Investigator Eston Kankwete was giving his testimony before Zomba Magistrate Paul Chiotcha on Tuesday afternoon.

As head of the investigating team, Kankwete took the court through the whole investigation both in Malawi and Zambia.

Kankwete said he suspected foul play between Chaponda and and his co-accused Rashid Tayub of Transglobe Produce Limited after noting that Transglobe had donated 600 bags of maize flour weighing six kilograms each to the first accused in March 2016, which was later donated to an orphanage in his constituency.

“There was also constant communication between the two which raised eyebrows,” he said.

Kankwete tendered two e-mail communications between Davie Tayub and Rashid Tayub reminding the later of the maize flour donation and another one which Tayub send toChaponda with a business card attachment of Zambia Agriculture Principal Secretary.

He also cited some meetings which the Tayub family had with former Admarc Chief Executive Officer Foster Mulumbe and Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe

“At one such meetings, Mulumbe told them that Admarc can not offer them a contract because they had already signed one with Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF),” he said.

Asked to by lead prosecutor MacMillan Chakhala to name specific incidents showing that there was corrupt attempts in that transactions, Kamkete cited calls from Chaponda to Mulumbe asking for the updates on the offer by Transglobe and some visits by Transglobe to Ministry of Finance.

“I was also told by Mulumbe that Dr Chaponda was pressurizing him to offer Transglobe the contract,” he said.

He, however, confirmed that at that time, ZCF was failing to deliver maize and due to pressure goverent had on the imminent hunger, Transglobe was the only company with Zambian permit to export maize from the neighboring country into Malawi.

The ACB investigator also told the court that ZCF CEO James Chirwa told him that Zambia Minister of Agriculture allocated them to export 50 000 metric tones of maize with the other 50 000 tones to be exported by Transglobe.

However, the dimension of the whole testimony changed when Dr Chaponda’s lawyer Tamando Chokhotho took the floor.

Quized by defence lawyers  if he knew that between March and April 2016  Chaponda was not Minister of Agriculture but of Foreign Affairs, that Transglobe has never traded with Ministry of Foreign affairs and that Chaponda had no prior knowledge that he will be moved to Agriculture ministry, Kamkwete answered yes.

“Are you aware that the maize flour donation was made during Eid Festive season?”

“No.”

“You know that good willing Muslims give to people during that period?”

“Yes.”

“So people should donate without being labeled corrupt not so?”

“Yes”

“Between April and October the first accused (Dr Chaponda) was into Malawi and Zambia transaction and not Malawi and Transglobe transaction, not so?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have physical evidence that Dr Chaponda instructed Mulumbe to give a contract to Transglobe?”

“No.”

Asked what he could have done if he was a minister of agriculture caught in such circumstances when the company that was awarded a contract was failing to supply maize while there was a company within the country which can export maize from Zambia, Kamkwete said he could have opted to use the local company since the country was in dire need of the maize.

He also said it was not wrong for Transglobe to do follow ups on the offer put to ministry of finance and agriculture.

Kamkwete also told the court that he was not aware that there was a contract between Transglobe and ZCF on business.

“Apart from the maize flour donation and following up on Transglobe offer, what else made you suspect and arrest the first accused. Based on the information you have tendered before court, do you any basis to arrest the first accused on the maize purchase issue?” quizzed defence lawyer Tamando Chokhotho.

“I don’t think so,” he answered.

Taking his turn, lawyer for the second accused (Tayub) Jai Banda reminded Kamkwete that the accused played no role in any negotiations or transactions on the purchase of the maize but he father.

“Why did you arrest someone who was not active during all the meetings and leave out those who took part?” quizzed Banda

“Because he was like the leader since all was responsible for signing documents,” he answered.

“So he was arrested because he signed documents?”

“Yes”

“So should we say the whole minister was bribed by three tones of maize flour?”

“We can say that?”

“And you have already agreed that the donation was done when he was minister of foreign affairs and not agriculture?”

“Yes”

“And that Transglobe is into agricultural business that has nothing to do with ministry of foreign affairs?”

“Yes”

“Is it wrong for a member of parliament to approach companies for assistance in a particular constituency?”

“No”

“Mulumbe told this court that he was never instructed by the first accused to offer a contract to Transglobe, and you said he told you that the first accused instructed him to offer the contract, between you and Mulumbe, who should this court believe?”

“Mr Mulumbe”

When asked by Chakhala to clarify why he said going by his testimony, there was no valid reasons to arrested the two accused, Kamkwete said he said so because he was pressured by the defence.

Chaponda, Tayub and Grace Mijiga-Mhango, a businessperson and chairperson of the Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi (GTPA), were arrested by the ACB for their alleged suspicious roles in the deal.

Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to April 9 for oral submissions.

However, magistrate Chiotcha has given the defence team up to March 21 to submit  written submissions to the court, and the State to respond to the same by April 4.

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National Front for Protection of the Poor
Guest
National Front for Protection of the Poor

If Chaponda wins this case which is likely now ACB and the justice system will suffer serious and terminal public disgrace. No sane Malawian will trust them. Calls to end corruption will be scorned at. This case will tell Malawians that only the poor can be prosecuted and be found guilty. These twists and turns have assured Peter to call for speedy conclusion of the K236b because he is now sure ACB will dismiss the case as well. From 50+1 outcome DPP has in its armpit all state institutions. DPP wants the K236b concluded so that no one uses it… Read more »

Macus wa News
Guest
Macus wa News

Chaponda will win this case. ACB will be a laughing stalk for their lack of objectivity, their unprofessional ism and acting because of social media pressure. No sane Malawian will trust them. This case will tell Malawians the truth that media (Especially Times Group), Religious bodies (PAC in particular) and other important institutions are being used by Greedy politicians to push for their agenda.And that things are not as bad as others claim.

Mtumbuka wa DPP
Guest
Mtumbuka wa DPP

Malawi ndi dziko la anthu anzanje baba. Mantha ndi Chaponda achina Nankhumwa kupeka nkhani

Peter Chakwantha
Guest
Peter Chakwantha

Mulungu si munthu Chaponda will soon smile.

Adada
Guest
Adada

Very very interesting … Law and its technicalities.. #mwachidule ife tingoti following (odya zache alibe Mlandu-Dr Usi

Patience Kunthembwe
Guest
Patience Kunthembwe

Case closed

Omex70
Guest
Omex70

Anthu omwe akuonetsa kusangalala ngati kuti Chaponda wawina ndi okayikitsa. How can you rejoice when someone who is believed to have corruptly misuse Tax Payers Money? I question your intergrity. I think birds of the same feathers flock together.

Chikondi Chikoko
Guest
Chikondi Chikoko

Chaponda will win this case. ACB will be a laughing stalk for their lack of objectivity, their unprofessional ism and acting because of social media pressure. No sane Malawian will trust them. This case will tell Malawians the truth that media (Especially Times Group), Religious bodies (PAC in particular) and other important institutions are being used by Greedy politicians to push for their agenda.And that things are not as bad as others claim.

Glady\'s wa Bae
Guest
Glady\'s wa Bae

Finally justice is here. Bravo chaponda

Dickson Mzumara
Guest
Dickson Mzumara

Chaponda was arrested due public pressure but there was no concrete evidence to prosecute him in a competent court of law and ACB knew it. They only arrested him so that the court should clear him on their behalf chifukwa anakanena ena not court, anthu sakanakhulupilira. Kutsutsa galu mkukumba anatelo akulu akale.

benjones
Guest

open corruption.

DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
DzukaniAmalawi

Written law can be challenged and equally its technicalities can be a basis for arguments to the benefit of those guilty. There are many documented cases where guilty people have been acquitted either due to lack of evidence or on technicality. However, our conscious is always at play and that’s the best judge of them all. Moral and ethical human beings will submit to their guilty pleasures and ask for forgiveness; but those who opt to hide under technicalities of the law (to hide their guilt) better know that Karma is a bitch; Yale University or villager.

Kondwa Makoka
Guest
Kondwa Makoka

DPP has done what no government has ever done before.Arresting and trying the veep of the ruling party.The rest is the responsibility of the judge based on the evidence presented to him Kudos APM

Kenneth Jali
Guest
Kenneth Jali

Everybody who is not happy with reality at the magistrate court in zomba, don’t blame anyone but yourselves. You trusted Brian Banda ( Formerly Joyce Banda’s spokesperson) and George Kasakula (MCP Candidate/ sympathizer) for news when they are very overzealous and biased. Learn to be objective with issues. This is why everyone is leaving Times Group

Toka
Guest
Toka

Money has exchanged hands. Why wasn’t he arrested in the first place if there were no basis? When have u realised that there were no basis for his arrest when you took almost a year investigating before his arrest?

Chiyembekezo Likwemba
Guest
Chiyembekezo Likwemba

Even a kid knows that ACB had no clear evidence.They just acted because there was pressure from overzealous media.We all accused the president of shielding Chaponda. Justice is taking its course.

Benard Likambale
Guest
Benard Likambale

Everyone knew from the start that this issue was going no where.You can’t say kuti Chaponda waba when no one has lost anything.Mediocrity in Malawi. Lets pray for this nation kuti nsanje ndi kaduka zithe.Lets all work for our families koma za nsanje sizitipitsa kulikonse.

Prince Msaya
Guest
Prince Msaya

From that interrogation Chaponda had with Parliamentary Committee which was aired live on Zodiak .Chaponda was very clear with his answers and he proved his innocence,Only that people Judged him before the courts.

Chikondi Katona
Guest
Chikondi Katona

Chaponda was arrested because an inquiries suggested he be investigated ,it is up to the court to find him guilty or not.If the court thinks he is not guilty just like any Malawian he is free to walk.

Chamunorwa
Guest
Chamunorwa

Correct. The enquiries suggested he be investigated. They did not find him guilty. Now indications are that he might be let off the hook. Remember he was partnof the midnight guys. Why sacrifice him. No money had changed hands. You wanna find some guilty follow the money..There was no money to follow coz the LC was never drawn down.

Chisangalatso Kamwendo
Guest
Chisangalatso Kamwendo

Chaponda was arrested due public pressure but there was no concrete evidence to prosecute him in a competent court of law and ACB knew it. They only arrested him so that the court should clear him on their behalf chifukwa anakanena ena not court, anthu sakanakhulupilira. Viva CHAPONDA VIVA DPP

Chamunorwa
Guest
Chamunorwa

100% correct. The gullible public was taken for a ride by the newspapers. Remember Chaponda is a Harvard Trained Lawyer.

Malawi@Crossroads
Guest

Law enforcement agencies and entire legal system is collapsing right under our nose. Banana republic might just be on the way. The same politicians that are busy creating the chaos might just be the victims in just a few years. We will remind you of your own creation.

Chamunorwa
Guest
Chamunorwa

Toka don’t be ignorant. No money passed hands. The LC was not even drawn. Money passed hands only in the newspapers.

mjiba
Guest
mjiba

Kamkwete lead investigator ha ha ha kkkkk ACB mbola

Melody Chisasa
Guest
Melody Chisasa

By arresting and trying the vice president of the ruling party,that own its own shows progress and independence of ACB. Kudos to the DPP led administration.The outcome of the court proceedings is a different case. This could not be window dressing by Chaponda or DPP.No one would want the trauma Chaponda went through for themselves.

KING Pendo
Guest
KING Pendo

Mulungudi alipo.Ndaonera pa nkhani ya Chaponda

Salim
Guest
Salim

Who said chaponda and tayub alibe mulandu??The court is yet to determine that on the 9th April. And as far as fact presented b4 the court are concerned they have got a case to answer.Let’s wait and see what the court will say.Goodall Gondwe has no powers to issue a licence to a person to keep foreign currency without the authorization from RBM..That’s case number 1(Possession of foreign currency without authorisation)Whether he is a lawyer from Yale university izo ndi zake,,ife tili ndi malamulo anthu omwe timatsata.

Nyengo Kaponda
Guest
Nyengo Kaponda

Anthu zakuwanani bwanji? mukufuna Goodall anene umboni wanu? iye akunena zimene akudziwa. Kapena mukufuna mulanduwu upite kwa ma judge anu ku mzuzu kuti agamule kuti mukhititsidwe? Unfortunately it can’t be your way.

Dalitso
Guest
Dalitso

The problem with what you call malamulo is that people who have committed crime can sometimes found not guilty by the court. Remember 3 cabinet and an MP were murdered in Malawi and police officers who were sent to kill them admitted but no one has been put to jail for those crimes because there was not evidence that those who were accused did, but what we know is that people were killed. all what the defence lawyer that maize was donated to Chaponda because he Tayub is a good muslim is a lie. this gift was meant to konza… Read more »

Grey Kamadzi
Guest
Grey Kamadzi

koma Court ligamure mwachangu ndithu.Amene amalipira anzake kuti mbili ya Chaponda ndi DPP iyipe amve kuwawa zenizeni

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