Malawi court fails to accommodate Mphwiyo, 18 others cashgate case: No plea after preliminary objections

High Court registrar and the Director of Public Prosecutions are looking for a spacious room in Lilongwe to turn it into a court room to accommodate former budget director Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others charged with several counts, including theft and money laundering K2.4 billion ($3.3 million).

Mphwiyo coming out of court with his lawyer.-Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times

Mphwiyo coming out of court with his lawyer.-Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times

Mphwiyo having a talk with his lawyer  -Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times

Mphwiyo having a talk with his lawyer -Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times

Meyer Chisanga, lead lawyer for Mphwiyo brought to the attention of the judge that the court room was too small to accommodate 19 defendants, 15 lawyers, journalists and the public.

This was after the court met on Wednesday for a full day hearing and from the start it was noted the room was too small as most of people who came to be in the public gallery failed to enter.

Director of Public Prosecutions Mary Kachale agreed with Chisanga.

The judge then ruled that the offices of the High Court registrar and the DPP should identify a spacious place where the court should sit when it meets on May 11.

Kachali said it was most likely that the court will sit elsewhere in Lilongwe away from Lilongwe High Court registry court rooms.

Before this, the DPP and the lawyers for defendants battled it out on legal technicalities.

Paul Mphwiyo and the 18 others are accused of plundering public resources infamously known as cashgate to the tune of K30 billion.

Mphwiyo, who is believed to be the master minder of the looting of government resources, was expected to take plea to four charges that was levelled against him by the state in the court in December 2015 together with 18 others, including civil servants such as former Accountant General David Kandoje, Auzius Kazombo Mwale, Clemence Mmadzi and Roosevelt Ndovi, but also contractors such as Stafford Mpoola.

Other suspects are businessman Limumba Karim,    an expert in information technologies (IT) Steve Likhunya Phiri, George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda and 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.

But soon after the start of the court session, one of the defence lawyers, Titus Mvalo SC, asked the court that the plea shouldn’t take place as they want to raise preliminary objections.

He said the defence received a new charge sheet just a day before the court and they have issue to raise on the new charge sheet.

Among others, lawyer Mvalo SC raised the change of count one which is conspiracy to defraud government the sum of K2, 444,817,450.49 which its dates have been changed as the earlier sheet was indicating 1st April 2013 to 30th July 2013 as the period the accused conspired with his friends but now it has been charged to the period of between 30th July 2013 to 30th September 2013.

And also that count number  6 which is Abuse of Public Office, contrary to section 25B (1) of the corrupt practices Act and count 7 of Money laundering has also some  changes.

Senior Counsel Mvalo also said his client can’t take plea as he is yet to read the new charge sheet and in order for him and others to have a fair trial they need to go through the revised charges before they take plea.

DPP Kachale agreed that indeed there are some changes but was of the view that still the accused persons could have proceed and take plea.

Justice Esmie Chombo ruled that the case be adjourned to give ample time for the accused persons go through the new charge sheet that will help them to take plea.

Chombo adjourned the case to 11th May, 2016 also to allow the state  led by Kachale file the last documents which they are waiting from Softech.

Apart from being lead prosecutor in the Mphwiyo shooting case which adjourned last Friday to resume on February 17, Kachale is also the main prosecutor in several Cashgate cases.

Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been handling some of the Cashgate cases while others are being handled jointly with the DPP.

Mphwiyo’s shooting on 13 September 2013 led to the unravelling of the systematic looting of millions of government money dubbed ‘cashgate’ and  the resultant discovery that up to US $30 million was minted from the government payment system, where politicians and businessmen colluded with civil servants for payments for goods and services not rendered to government.

Soon after Mphwiyo’s shooting millions of cash in Malawi kwacha, US dollars and South African rands started pitching up in unlikely places like in car trunks, baby dolls, under beds or in pillow cases. –-Additional reporting by Owen Khamula, Nyasa Times

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14 thoughts on “Malawi court fails to accommodate Mphwiyo, 18 others cashgate case: No plea after preliminary objections”

  1. otchona phiri says:

    here they carry their docs and books in bookcases with wheels,but malawi carrying em with hands still, we `re very backward even in2k16…wake up malawi its bn long….MXM!!!

  2. DZINA LANGA says:

    its only in Malawi where milandu take decades. Its only in Malawi where money can be stolen at will. Its only in Malawi where thugs can hack you in full view of the police. its only in Malawi where polical hammer boys can parade in the streets and get away with it. Its only in Malawi where a high profile officer can be brutally killed like a dog and his official vehicle burnt in ashes and security officers keep on investigating….. its only in Malawi……. the list is endless….. pitilizani.

  3. Ze Roberto says:

    Some lawyers can exude copious amounts of stupidity. I mean why carrying all those books. Give him a wheelbarrow. Why behave like you are the only guys who went to school? In any case the situation in Malawi doesn’t show that we have any brainy people. We are all empty headed surviving on donor aid. Period!

  4. Chimunthu says:

    These cashgate legal wranglings will go on and on. Meanwhile the lawyers make money and the thieves enjoy the goods purchased with the stolen money. Does the government have any serious will to bring the cashgate perpetrators to justice and recover the stolen money? Don’t expect any worthwhile outcome for many, many months to come.

  5. kkilembe says:

    Malawi is a failed state. When did these geezers know when that the space was not enough. Tamuonani lawyer dzima file dzambiru chonchi? Was he reading these in court? Za chamba basi? And look at the fat thief, he is smiling like a dog!!. Only in Malawi do you see accussed persons smiling. This man should have been going to court in leg and hand irons like in the Kamuzu days to show the seriousness of the case. And he has a smile on his ugly face???

  6. MYAO says:

    AM DEAD SURE SOME OF THOSE 50KG FILES ARE FOR OFFICE STATIONERY, GROCERIES ETC AND NOT RELATED TO THE CASE, THERE’S ONLY ONE SINGLE PIECE OF PAPER WHERE HE SCRIBLED HOW TO APPLY FOR A MORE SPACIOUS VENUE.

  7. Lord says:

    Tangobwerani nawo kuno kwa a mfumu amenewo asaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Basikolo Jones says:

    Seriously this is total bullshit, why all these adjournments to this good for nothing cashgate case against Paul and his mates. R their lawyers want to buy time or waist government resources? Nawe Kachale b serious. Pakali pano, the whole Malawi is watching carefully on this issue. By the end of the day a lot of people will die because mukuchedwetsa milandu yot ikuchita kuonekeratu kolowera. Amangidwe ndithu anthu akuba amenewa. Amapangitsa a Malawi kukhala pa umphawi wadzaoneni. Y should Malawians suffer bcoz of not more than 50 pipo? Total nonsense. Mulungu adzakulangani. Koma munkhaniyi osaiwara Thava ankakhala Ku falls akhale mboni ya boma.

  9. pido says:

    Kodi nkhani ya Kalonga Idatha bwanji

  10. Kodi mwadziwa lero kutii malo ozenga milandu achepa? Ndiyeno anthu 79 aku Agriculture a salary-gate aja milandu yawo mukaizengera kutino pooti onsewa pafunika adziyimbidwa milandu yawo tsiku limodzi? Mukafuna malo ine ndiri nawo ndipo ndikupatsani ulere popeza dzikoli ndi langa. Nkhani ya ku a Agiculture chonde isachedwe ayi.

  11. Nkalo says:

    Kodi maloya simumakhala ndi messenger okunyamulirani zimafailozo. Mpaka tutuwili a lawyer amenewo

  12. Tuti says:

    Naye anakamulandilako Mzakeyo ma file eeeh

  13. Kamuna says:

    Its been close to two years since the accused persons were arrested. It is clear the state has no evidence against the accused persons. No wonder there are so many adjournments. I wonder why the likes of Radson Mwadiwa, Madalitso Kabambe, Mwanamveka have not been arrested.

  14. surely says:

    Koma zoona Lawyer kunyamula high profile document like that? Cholinga muziti akuba anakulandani then mulandu uchedwe. Do you know how many people have died because of this cashgate? Malawi sazatheka ndithu. It only happens in third world countries. To be precise Malawi.

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