Despite a punishment hearing and mitigation in September last year, the sentencing of cashgate convict Caroline Savala, who was found guilty of siphoning K84 million, has delayed as Judge Fiona Mwale is not giving her determination.
The High Court in Lilongwe convicted Savala on July 18 2015 for theft and money laundering of K84.9 million as she accused of getting payment from the Ministry of Tourism through her company Carmu Civil Engineering although the company did not provide any services to the government.
State Prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu submitted to court that Savala was aware that she was stealing public money by lending her company certificate to another cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga, former deputy director of tourism.
Savala requested court to be lenient to her guilty plea on grounds that she was not aware that Kalonga would use it to steal government money.
In her testimony, Savala denied to have taken part in the cashgate but admitted that she found herself in the affair because Kalonga had used her.
She claimed that she was hoodwinked into the scandal by a childhood friend cashgate suspect Florence Chatuwa and Kalonga.
But Nyasulu brought objective material evidence in form of documents to prove that it could not have been just Kalonga using her since her own certificate was used yet she had responsibility under that certificate.
‘God –loving’ cashgater
Savala’s court appearances have never been short of drama; she wept so uncontrollably during one court session that Judge Mwale had to call off proceedings.
She described herself as God-loving, good-mannered young lady who could not have willingly “looted” and “plundered” national wealth had she known the treachery and scale of the plot she was participating in.
Savala told the court that Kalonga collected 90 percent of the funds once cashed from her Carm Civil Engineering Limited accounts, while she shared the 10 percent with Chatuwa who was the go-between of the two.
Judge Mwale did not indicate when the sentencing would take place.
Scared with ‘K91mil’
Meanwhile, in the case involving contractor Godfrey Dzanjalimodzi K337 million (about $610 000) Cashgate at Lilongwe High Court prosecution witness testified how horrified he was when he noted a strange deposit of K91 million into the WG Construction Limited account but its source was unknown.
Mavuto Wellington Madimbo who is now working with Mkaka construction company as site supervisor, was co-director of WG Construction and told the court that they had contracts to build schools in Kasungu, Chikwawa and Lilongwe districts, but the company sub-contracted because it lacked capacity to undertake the projects.
According to Madimbo they subcontracted some works to Mphatso Metal Works from Zomba and hey gave Mphatso Metal Works owner Mr Poya Cheque book for NBS with seven leafs already signed so that he can cash his payments once there’s money deposited into the account.
Madimbo told the court that one morning he received a call from Mr Poya asking him if he is aware that in their account there was money deposited amounting to K91 million and if he can cash his dues.
“I was surprised when the subcontractor called me to query why we were not paying her when a K91 million cheque had just been deposited into our account.
“I was scared after I heard about the cheque and when I didn’t get an explanation from him [Dzanjalimodzi] I approached ACB [Anti-Corruption Bureau] who said my company was under watch over the suspicious transactions,” said Madimbo.
He said they were only expecting two payments from government one worth K7 million and K5 million.
When he was asked by state prosecutor, Enock Chibwana what was his reaction after he was told of the amount, he told the court that he was afraid and called his partner Mr Chitete who was also shocked . They both went to ask Dzanjalimodzi who told them to be quiet as he knew where the money was coming from .
Dzanjalimodzi would then electronically transfer the money from the account using a password of electronic banking facility which his co-directors did not know, said Madimbo.
Madimbo said he reported to Anti Corruption Bureau .
Prosecutor Chibwana produced photocopies of cheques from Malawi government which Madimbo recognized being deposited in WG Construction Limited National Bank account by GP Dzanjalimodzi on different date.
The four cheques which were in name of the company amounted to K357 million were deposited into the account on different days were all attached with deposit slips photocopies signed by Dzanjalimodzi himself.
Dzanjalimodzi deposited a cheque worth K18,672,508.80 on 30th April, 2013, K24,236,430.80 on 29th June 2013, K91,568,744.10 on 21st August 2013, K54,777,862.80 on 08th August,2013, K88,999,802.14 on 11th August 2013 and the last cheque he deposited was worth K78,654,259.65 on 23rd August 2013.
The second witness the state paraded official from NCIC Gerald Thom Khonje who is Technical Director for the council who explained to the court issues to do with ethics and if the council allows its members to borrow or lend their licences
Khonje confirmed to the court that WG Construction was registered and flouted council regulations when it was named in the Baker Tilly forensic report among suspects to have fraudulently obtained money from the government.
Presiding judge, Justice Ivy Kamanga has since adjourned the case to a later date to be communicated to the state and Defendant counsels when the state is expected to continue parading it’d witness and according to Chibwana the state now remains with three witnesses to testify on the matter.
Dzanjalimodzi who is being presented by Nankhuni and Associates lawyer Gift Nankhuni pleaded not guilty to the charges
Cashgate – the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill – was exposed in 2013 after the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe .
Former president Joyce Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor, Baker Tilly, undertook between April and September 2013 and established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
In May last year, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :