Former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara who is one of those answering charges of money laundering involving more than K5 billion and other charges surrounding Malawi’s cashgate scandal has demanded that special state prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu should not continue handling the case.
Kasambara, his law firm Ralph and Arnolds, his partner Wapona Kita, along businessman Pika Manondo are among the accused in the case.
Others are Director of Housing in the Department of Housing Auzius Kazombo Mwale, two Principal Accountants Roosevelt Frank Ndovi and Fletcher Arnold Kaizo.
Kasambara and his defense team objected to Nyasulu continuing with the case during the sitting of the High Court in Lilongwe on Monday when they appeared to take plea.
“The question is: does the law allow for a special prosecutor? If the answer is negative it follows automatically that he has no capacity to prosecute this mater. The sum total is that all we have been going through is an exercise in futility,” said Kasambara.
He also questioned the process Nyasulu was appointed arguing that it was not in line with the Public Finance Management Act, Public Procurement Act and Public Audit Act.
Said Kasambara: “I will not support short-cuts in the pretence of special prosecutions.”
Defense lawyer Gift Nankhuni was the first to raise the objection to the involvement of Nyasulu as well as another special prosecutor Enock Chibwana, a former Ombudsman.
“Their coming should be in line with the Public Procurement Act. There should be evidence of tendering process in which they were successful or a ‘no objection’ certificate from the ODPP (Office of the Director of Public Procurement,” said Nankhuni.
However, Nyasulu argued that the defense cited the law selectively and the submissions were speculative.
He also said that it is not the role of the court to investigate the appointment of public servants.
Judge Chifundo Kachale ruled that the defense should submit written arguments by Wednesday 23 July 2014, and the State to reply by Friday 25 July 2014 while the ruling will be on Monday 28 July 2014.
According to charge sheet of Criminal Case Number 18 of 2014, there are five counts which the suspects are answering.
In one of the counts, Kasambara and Pika Manondo are being charged of money laundering in which it is alleged that Kasambara and Manondo between 22 April 2013 and 10 January 2014, acting in concert and in furtherance of a common unlawful purpose, each or the others or all of them had in their possession proceeds of crime, namely eleven (11) motor vehicles and Five Billion Six Hundred Sixteen Million Nine Hundred Eighty One Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty One Kwacha (K5,616,981,751.00).
The charge sheet indicates that the two knew or had reason to believe represented in whole or in part directly or indirectly stolen money.
The two are also expected to be charged with Conspiracy.
The charge sheet states that Kasambara and Manondo between 20 January 2013 and 10 January 2014 “conspired together to acquire proceeds of crime; to wit property which they knew or had reason to believe represented in whole or in part directly or indirectly money stolen from the government.”
Kasambara, Kita, Manondo and Ralph and Arnold Associates are all expected to answer a charge of possession of property suspected of being stolen in which they are accused that on or about 29 July 2013 at Nedbank Ginnery Corner Branch in the City of Blantyre had in their possession Fifty Five Million Kwacha (K55,000,000) which is reasonably suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.
Manondo has another charge of possession of property suspected of being stolen, contrary to Section 329 of the Penal Code.
The charge sheet says that between 3 June 2013 and 1 January 2014 Manondo had in his possession 11 motor vehicles and Twenty Two Million Eight Hundred Fifty Three Thousand Seventeen Kwacha Thirty Ni n e Tambala (K22,853,017.39) suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.
Mwale, Ndovi and Kaizo are expected to answer a charge of negligence by public officers on whose watch almost Two Billion Three Hundred Ninety kwacha went missing from government coffers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :