Former Malawi Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo, whose shooting on 13 September 2013 led to the unravelling of the systematic looting of millions of government money dubbed ‘cashgate’, will start answering his charges of theft and money laundering K2.4 billion ($3.3 million from March 1, 2016 related to the biggest financial scandal in the country.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale made an application to the High Court in Lilongwe to have the case adjourned due to her office tight schedule as she is also the main prosecutor in several Cashgate cases including the shooting case of Mphwiyo.
Mphwiyo is facing charges alongside 18 others, including civil servants such as former Accountant General David Kandoje, Auzius Kazombo Mwale, Clemence Mmadzi and Roosevelt Ndovi, but also contractors.
Others are George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda and jailed Maxwell Namata who are facing charges of fraud, negligence by public office, money laundering, theft by public servant, theft by servant and conspiracy to defraud government K2 446 817 450.49.
According a notice of adjournment dated January 29 signed by Presiding judge, Justice Esme Chombo addressing to legal representatives of accused persons and Court records notice board indicates that the case shall resume on March 16, 2016 at 9am.
The former budget director’s shooting at the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013 is believed to have revealed the Cashgate affair.
Former president Joyce Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor, Baker Tilly, undertook between April and September 2013 and established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
In May this year, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014.
Meanwhile, a case in which 14 people, among them government accountants and a private sector individual, are accused of allegedly conspiring to steal K201 million from government in 2011, has been adjourned indefinitely for security fears.
Lawyer Henry Kadzakumanya said the prosecution led by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director Reyneck Matemba informed High Court Judge Charles Mkandawire in his chambers that they are receiving death threats to drop charges against the accused.
“They fear people making the threats are coming to court armed and we have accepted that the issues of security be addressed,” said Kadzakumanja.
Last year judge Fiona Mwale refused to walk a distance of about 300 metres for fear of being attacked.
There are 14 accused persons in the case who the ACB wants to prove were involved in the theft and money laundering of K201 million from the then Ministry of Disability Affairs through the Accountant General’s office.
Cornelius Kaphantengo, who was director of Nova Technology and General Dealers, has been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, theft and money laundering while his wife, Yvonne, is co-accused on the same counts
According to the charge sheet, the 14 allegedly shared among themselves K201 million between November 2010 and June 2011 and they are jointly charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and money laundering.
Other co-accused persons are Chikondi Chimutu, whose charge of theft involves K18.3 million of the K201 million, Emmanuel Yesaya whose charge of theft involves K27.4 million, Deusdedit Tenthani who allegedly got a share of K16.2 million, Tendai Nayeja (K27.1 million), Audney Kamitengeni (K9.9 million), Conrad Nambala (K38.4 million), Justina Nyirenda charged with abuse of public office as she was an accounts assistant in the Accountant General’s office and Squire Chakwana charged with theft of K10.7 million.
Others are Jimmy Mbuliro whose theft charge is K3 million, Wides Machika Mbuliro (K0.5 million), Tapiwa Ng’oma (K9.1 million) and Khumbo Banda (K2.7 million).
Before an indefinite adjournment, former assistant procument officer in the then Ministry of Disability Affairs, Jesse Kauye and Humphrey Shaba a retired human resource management officer testified as state witnesses.
During an earlier hearing, the court learnt that subsequent revelations of the plunder of public resources in 2013 dubbed Cashgate was an upgrade of the theft of public money by the suspects from 2011.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :