Third defence witness for MacDonald Kumwembe in the ongoing case of attempted murder of former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo, Dauka Manondo told the High Court in Lilongwe that Mphwiyo and accused Pika Manondo were in South Africa to strike a deal worth $145 million (about K58 billion) with Paramount Group, Africa’s largest private defence and aerospace firm.
Paramount Group signed deals with the Malawian government for agriculture, fuel and military contracts through a network of investment firms.
Earlier the High Court Judge Michael Ntambo heard that Pika and Manondo were in South Africa for a week and returned home a few days before the shooting.
The shooting could have been a deal gone sour, according to the theory and revelations made by Dauka who was acquited by the court in the case.
According to second defence witness former People’s Party (PP) publicity secretary Hophmally Makande, Dauka’s younger brother Pika, left earlier while Mphwiyo followed, a routine which was repeated when they were coming back, a statement which Dauka supported.
He was asked by Kumwembe during cross examination if he knew what the two were doing in South Africa.
“I was told by Pika that they went to South Africa for an arms deal,” said Dauka who said he knew Mphwiyo since 1998 when he was at Chancellor College.
Dauka was testifying in the ongoing case of attempted murder of Mphwiyo.
Taking her turn, Director of Public Prosecution Mary Kachale quizzed Dauka if he saw off Dauka leaving or if he escorted Mphwiyo when he too was leaving.
“No, I did not,” he said
“So what is this arms deal all about?” asked Kachale
“Pika said Paul (Mphwiyo) was supposed to do an arms and ammunitions deal,” he responded
Kachale: Was Pika working with the government?
Kachale: In what capacity was Pika involved with the deal?
Dauka: I don’t know
Paramount Group was engaged under the previous administration, to supply military equipment to Malawi Defence Force .
Under that agreement, Paramount Group was to supply wide-ranging equipment to establishments under the Malawi Defence Force. The total bill amounted to $145 million at the time, which under the current rate is about K58 billion.
Paramount also signed a deal with Malawi to provide seven interceptor boats to patrol Lake Malawi.
It is also linked to the sale of Malawi presidential jet, the Dassault Falcon 900EX which was bought by Bohnox Enterprises, a firm registered in the British Virgin Islands, and sent to South Africa, where it is loaned to VIPs by the jet company Fortune Air.
Paramount Group is run by the South African brothers Ivor and Eric Ichikowitz and specialises in manufacturing armoured vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles. It previously brokered a deal for the Malawian government to equip its peacekeeping troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Trans Africa Capital, a venture capital firm run by Eric Ichikowitz, also signed agriculture and fuel contracts with Malawi’s government.
Kachale quizzed Dauka to explain his location, u on 13th September 2013 on the day of Mphwiyo shooting.
Dauka: I was socializing and left for home to sleep around 10pm and was driving alone
Kachale: How did you know of Mphwiyo’s shooting?
Dauka: I learnt of it through Pika who called me in the morning, I was on the way to Mzuzu to do some businesses.
Kachale: Being a good friend to Mphwiyo, you decided to go to Mzuzu to do business and not to go and see him.
Dauka: Yes depending on the nature of the business and I was also getting updates from Pika who was at the hospital. I knew I will go there when am back
Taking his turn, Pika asked Dauka his exact words in when he was telling him about the shooting.
“You told me that Paul has been shot and I asked why do you think he has been shot, you said maybe its because of the arms and ammunitions deal,” said Dauka.
He also said that prior to the shooting, Mphwiyo had asked Dauka to find him two house to buy within the ranges of K150 million and K200 million.
Dauka and Pika were directors of Regit Auctioneers and Estate Agents.
Mphwiyo was shot outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013, a shooting which is believed to have exposed the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill that came to be known as Cashgate.
The case has been adjourned to January 12.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :