The Lilongwe Magistrate Court has ordered the State to return the money and assets belonging to Principal Accountant in government, Roosevelt Ndovi, who has been discharged from charges of money laundering and unlawful possession of foreign currency.
Ndovi was arrested on September 30 2013 after being found with K3 million in the boot of a car at Capital Hill and $25,400 at his house.
But the court decided to discharge the suspect following the State’s unwillingness to prosecute him.
However, Chief Resident Magistrate Ruth Chinangwa, who made the determination on Monday, said the state is at liberty to restore the matter as discharge is not a bar to subsequent proceedings.
“The call was made on 10th July 2014 for the state to come to court and put on record their position as regards their prosecution. At this stage, the court was mindful the accused had taken plea and his assets had been seized. The state remained silent for about 16 months.
“The court is aware that this case has been branded ‘cashgate’. The court still maintains the view that the rights of accused to fair trial stand in the midst of cashgate woes.
“It is on the above score that the court finds that the state has been unwilling to prosecute and discharge the accused under Section 247 (2) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The state is at liberty to restore the matter as any discharge is not a bar to subsequent proceedings. As regards the seized properties the state is ordered to return the same,” reads Chinangwa’s ruling.
Chinangwa also said any aggrieved party has the right to appeal within 30 dates from the day of the pronouncement.
Meanwhile, State Prosecutor Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda has said they will appeal against the court’s decision and they will apply for a stay order of the decision pending appeal.
The state seized K3 million and $25,400 the accused was found with.
The state also seized Toyota Corolla registration number BR 228, International Cross Border Permits for Trucks KA 4791 and BS 4121, fuel cards for Total and Puma, two laptop bags, and personal cheque books for National Bank of Malawi, Malawi Savings Bank and Standard Bank, Business cheque books for Kaplan General Suppliers for NBS Bank and FDH Bank, personal passport and two folders with sale agreements for parcels of land and architectural drawings.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :