Emmanuel Yesaya , one of the accused person in which 13 other people, among them government accountants and a private sector individual, are accused of allegedly conspiring to steal K201 million ($358,929) from government in 2011, did not take a plea on his alleged role in the scam after his lawyer raised preliminary objection as the rest pleaded not guilty.
Yesaya did not plea on the three counts of theft, money laundering and conspiracy to commit a felony.
His lawyer, Innocent Kubwalo, argued that his client was discharged because the prosecution failed to commence trial on time.
Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director general Reyneck Matemba told the court that there was no proof that the prosecution was aware of the order to discharge Yesaya.
Presiding judge Charles Mkandawire said it will on November 25 decide whether Yesaya, who is charged with money laundering K27.4 million, should be charged or if indeed he was acquitted.
Pleading “not guilty” to the charges levelled against them included Cornelius Kaphantengo, who was director of Nova Technology and General Dealers. He has been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, theft and money laundering while his wife, Yvonne, is co-accused on the same counts.
Other co-accused persons who pleaded not guilty are Chikondi Chimutu, whose charge of theft involves K18.3 million of the K201 million, Deusdedit Tenthani who allegedly got a share of K16.2 million, Tendai Nayeja (K27.1 million), Audney Kamitengeni (K9.9 million), Conrad Nambala (K38.4 million), Justina Nyirenda charged with abuse of public office as she was an accounts assistant in the Accountant General’s office and Squire Chakwana charged with theft of K10.7 million.
Others are Jimmy Mbuliro whose theft charge is K3 million, Wides Machika Mbuliro (K0.5 million), Tapiwa Ng’oma (K9.1 million) and Khumbo Banda (K2.7 million).
The accused are believed to be the genesis of Cashgate, the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill through abuse of government’s central payment system, Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis).
Judge Mkandawire has since set December 11 2015 as the date when prosecution should start proving its case against the suspects.
In 2013, the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo led to revelations of the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.
Former president Joyce Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor, Baker Tilly, undertook between April and September 2013 which established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
In May this 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 :