Cashgate convict Kalonga sentencing process on snail’s pace

The Lilongwe High Court has given both the defence and state lawyer 14 days to submit their sentence submissions to the court in the K3.7 billion cash gate case of former assistant director in the ministry of tourism, Leonard Kalonga.

Kalonga and another Cashgate convict with wife Dyna

Presiding judge, Justice Fiona Mwale has given both the state and defence 14 days to file their sentence submissions to the court and that the court shall resume its proceedings after 21 days where the bothe parties are expected to make their oral presentations before the court and the judge shall then announce the date she will deliver her sentence to convict Kalonga

According to Director of Public Prosecutions – DPP, Mary Kachale, the State is not worried with the pace at which the case is taking, saying there’s no cause to worry

Kalonga, former assistant director in the ministry of tourism responsible for planning and development, was convicted at his own plea on August 26, 2015 for stealing government money worth K3.7 billion and is suspected to be one of the kingpins of the cash gate , is remanded at Zomba maximum prison awaiting his sentence and was recently sued as principal witness for the state in the ongoing cash gate cases involving former budget director in the ministry of finance, Paul Montfort Mphwiyo and 18 others.

He is expected to appear before the court on 6th February 2017 for cross examination from defence lawyers after he finished his testimony as stare witness a week ago

In his affidavit, Kalonga told the court how he, together with other Cashgate suspects including Mphwiyo, defrauded government billions of kwacha.

Kalonga further said on Mphwiyo’s instructions, he recruited about 14 construction companies, in the Cashgate affair.

He also told the court that the six buses from Automotive Products Limited were bought by Mphwiyo and that he only facilitated the purchase by delivering a K520 million ($913 884) cheque to a Limbikani Gumbo at Area 18 Filling Station.

In 2013, the shooting of Mphwiyo led to revelations of the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.

Former president Joyce Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor,  RSM (formerly Baker Tilly), undertook between April and September 2013 and established that about K24 billion ($42.3 million) was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.

In May 2015, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion ($1 billion) in public funds could not be reconciled between 2009 and December 31 2014.

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