Ex-army General Odillo fails to take plea in Malawi ‘cashgate’ case

Former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander, General Henry Odillo, who was arrested in May 2015  over a multi-million dollar corruption allegation were on Friday taken to court but failed to take plea.

Odillo (right) facing charges like Kauwa

Odillo (right) facing charges like Kauwa

Odillo and his former deputy, Lt Col Clement Kafuwa, are accused of arranging a contract to supply military equipment to Thuso Investments, which the State claims were not delivered..

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested them as part of an on going investigation into government corruption known as “cashgate”.

Odillo was fired by President Peter Mutharika in June 2015 and later given lucrative job in  parastatal organisation.

The two have been charged with three counts of abuse of public office contrary to Section 25(b) (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act; negligence by public officer in preserving money or any other property contrary to Section 284(1) of the Penal Code; and, money laundering contrary to Section (1) (d) of the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crimes and Terrorist Financing Act.

ACB also arrested a former MDF Lieutenant Colonel Nelson Kauwa whose company, Thuso Investments Group, was linked to contracts for the disputed payments at MDF.

Other accomplices are Ganizani Kumchombo and former Accountant General David Kandoje.

During the court appearance on Friday, Kanjoje’s lawyer  Manuel Theu sought deferral of the plea on grounds  his client has not been committed to the High Court in the matter.

Special prosecutor for cashgate, Kamudoni Nyasulu asked the court to allow Kandoje take plea alongside other suspects.

But Judge Redson Kapindu ruled that the due process for committal should be followed.

The judge said it was “an oversight” on the part of the prosecution not to commit Kandoje (six accussed person)  to High Court.

Kapindu adjourned the matter to “a date to be fixed by the court,”

ACB deputy director general Reyneck Matemba is on record saying Thuso had valid contracts with MDF prior to 2013, but the graft-busting agency found that there was no evidence of a K900 million contract to supply blank bullets.

The September 2014 forensic audit report by British firm Baker Tilly found that close to K18 billion of the K24 billion plundered between April and September 2013 was channelled through MDF.

Odillo and Kafuwa were apparently signatories of several cheques, including K3 billion to International Procurement Services (IPS) owned by businessperson Osward Lutepo—who was convicted and is serving prison sentence  on other  money laundering charges—and K1.5 billion to Thuso, co-owned by Kauwa and Alexander Banda, according to information sourced from ACB.

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The Analyst
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The Analyst
3 months 26 days ago
O…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….O The casual manner in which these cashgate cases are handled; is quite irritating to every well-meaning Malawian . . . . . . You see . . . One of the major reasons why APM became president, is that people thought he would be the right person to bring justice to these unpatriotic thieves. Alas! People thought that APM, being professor of law; would use his legal rothorhomb, to effectively and efficiently bring justice to all cashgaters; starting with the one believed to have summoned it. Santa Maria! . . . Indeed, a skunk; by any other name, shall… Read more »
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