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 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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :