2 PSs Chiunda, Nyandule get 9-month suspended sentence on Tractorgate conviction

The High Court in Lilongwe has handed a nine-month suspended sentence to Principal Secretary for Agriculture Gray Nyandule Phiri and Secretary to Treasury Cliff Chiunda, over snubbing a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal order to publicly apologise for a flawed procurement and disposal of tractors bought with borrowed funds.

Grey Nyandule Phiri of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Treasury’s Cliff Chiunda and their lawyer Chancy Gondwe were joined by Finance Minister Joseph Mwanamvekha to hear the passing of the suspended sentence
S for Ministry of Agriculture Gray Nyandule Phiri at Lilongwe High Court given Suspended Sentence
Secretary to Treasury Cliff Chiunda: Suspended sentence

The suspended sentence  means that the offender does not go to prison immediately, but is given the chance to stay out of trouble. If the offender is convicted of another offence during the suspension period, they are likely to serve the original custodial term in addition to the sentence they get for the new offence.

Judge Charles Mkandawire spared the two—Grey Nyandule Phiri of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Treasury’s Cliff Chiunda — from custodial sentence when he passed his sentence on Friday.

Mkandawire, in July last year, found the two guilty for disrespecting the order in relation to the tractors’ deal bought in 2011 with a $50 million (about K37 billion) loan from Exim Bank of India.

Mkandawire stated that the case demands a meaningful punishment because it is in violation of Section 12 which prescribes fundamental principles of the Constitution.

Section 12 (f) says, “All institutions and persons shall observe and uphold this Constitution and the rule of law and no institution or person shall stand above the law.”

The judgement was delivered in sequential phases after it was found that previous cases of similar nature were handled haphazardly.

Justice Mkandawire said it was important to look at the maximum sentence, starting of the sentence, punishment imposed in similar cases, mitigating and aggravating factors, meaningful punishment and whether the sentence should be suspended.

After perusing through mitigating and aggravating factors, the court deduced that Nyandule and Chiunda committed a serious crime which puts the reputation of the court under threat.

The respondents were also found in breach of Section 12 when they expressed sheer arrogance and mockery to justice by remaining mum, not bothered to take any action, let alone acknowledge receipt of the letter addressed to them by the Ombudsman.

However, on the premises of being first offenders and compliance of the order albeit late, they were handed the custodial sentence of nine months imprisonment suspended to 24 months.

The court further established that the respondents have lost the moral compass to run such high positions. In this regard, it was recommended that the office of the President should seriously look into the matter.

The case followed investigations Ombudsman Martha Chizuma’s office instituted after a small-scale farmer in Rumphi and former member of Parliament for Dedza East, Juliana Lunguzi, lodged a complaint about the sale of farm equipment dubbed Tractorgate.

Revelations of faulty procurement and dubious disposal of the tractors and 144 maize shellers came to light in 2016. The equipment was part of Greenbelt Initiative to put about one million hectares under irrigation. However, only 77 tractors were put to use while 100 were sold.

After investigations, a report titled The Present Toiling, The Future Overburdened was issued in which the Ombudsman cited cases of gross maladministration and demanded an apology to Malawians and the prosecution of those involved in the deal.

But in 2017, the Attorney General (AG), government chief legal adviser, successfully challenged the report and its findings in court on the basis the Office of the Ombudsman overstepped its mandate by ordering government officials to apologise.

But the Ombudsman’s office, through its legal counsel Modecai Msisha, appealed against the ruling in the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal which later upheld the directive for an apology to run for 21 consecutive days in both local daily newspapers and 21 consecutive days during prime time on one public and one private radio and television stations.

While Nyandule-Phiri published a public apology once on July 12 2019, Chiunda did not, compelling the Ombudsman to file a court application to open a case against the two PSs for failing to comply with the court order.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
16 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nasingwe
Nasingwe
1 year ago

kodi Khumbo Kachali azasiya???? ngakhale ali mwana khalidwe lake l8nali lomweli taswela naye uyu .tsiku silimatha asanasolole pena pake.i dont know whats wrong with this disfigured bellyman.
kuoneka ngati ci tellytubby cacikuuuluuuu.mxiiii

Chacharito
Chacharito
1 year ago

These two convicts should be advised to go for early retirement as within the 24 months their enemies can easily find other offices/crimes against them, take them to court,win the case and facilitate their imprisonment with hard labour.

Mbanje Legalised
Mbanje Legalised
1 year ago

A formality case. They were in court in their official capacity. They may not have been PSs in those ministries at the time the tractors were procured or sold and can’t be held personally liable. If you don’t know who the beneficiaries were, ask Khumbo Kachali to bring a list of his accomplices!

Kuswa Kuswa
Kuswa Kuswa
1 year ago

And Msowoya too of UTM and former speaker of Parliament and Ivy Luhanga.

Kuswa Kuswa
Kuswa Kuswa
1 year ago

Utumbuka wamanga nthenje paMalawi.

Destroyer of liars
1 year ago
Reply to  Kuswa Kuswa

Just like the rather not so intelligent Lomwe tribe. A tribe that survives on nepotism other than ability. The only contribution made by Lomwes to the country are twofold, ignorance and overpopulation which has resulted in producing high population of bar girls. Get to the pub and ask those bar consultants and get the shock of the revelation – most of them are Lomwes.

Clifford
1 year ago

So says a tribesman from a nepotistic tribe itself.

Joni
Joni
1 year ago

When DPP is out, we will re open and retry all controversially sentenced cases ie the K145m Police scandal, the Chaponda foreign currency case, the 2PS s Tractor gate case etc

Nyusensi
Nyusensi
1 year ago

That’s a slap on the wrist!! They need to be locked up !!

Sahara
Sahara
1 year ago

A slap in our faces. What type of crime are they going to commit for them to serve jail time? DPP is above the law. We’re watching. La 40 lidzakwana tsiku lina. We know who benefited from this tractor gate.

Zawela
Zawela
1 year ago

Rule of law upheld!

#NotMyPresident
#NotMyPresident
1 year ago

But why must rich people not go to jail? Steal a chicken you go to jail. Disobey a judgment you are forgiven, miscarriage.

BigMan
BigMan
1 year ago

9 months suspended sentence (no jail time) for facilitating theft (in billions) by public servants. Pamene anthu wamba akufela ku remand for years, no trial, for stealing ducks, corn and groundnuts.

Read previous post:
Malawi immigration for rigorous border checks as Coronavirus precaution measure

Director General of Immigration Masauko Medi has urged immigration officers  through the country to be vigilant in enforcing the Citizenship...

Close