The High Court in Lilongwe on Thursday turned into a laughing arena like a comedy show when State witness tendered charms (Zithumwa) which were seized during the search in one of the suspects houses during the investigations of Cashgate
Standing in the witness box in the K2.4 billion Cashgate case involving former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigator, Robert Mbuzi Mkandawire, told the court that he investigated Andrew Chilalika and Cecelia Ng’ambi.
He narrated about their role in the fraudulent transactions where cheques were drawn from government and cashed by these two apparently without providing any services – Cashgate.
Mbuzi tendered what he called charms (Zithumwa) which he apparently found in the bedroom of Cecelia Ng’ambi to frustrate justice in the matter.
Taking his turn in cross examination, lawyer for Ng’ambi, Powell Nkhutabasa quizzed the ACB investigator if among other things he contacted or interrogated Cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga who masterminded payments from government through several contractors, a brother to Cecelia Ng’ambi, on how the sister was involved in the looting. He gave an emphatic No.
Earlier during his testimony, Kalonga stated that he was one of the masterminds of a grand scheme of theft, and that he just used his sister, who knew nothing of the looting, and in fact did not benefit anything.
On the issue of charms, the investigator said the items he found could or could not be charms at all.
He further stated that he did not verify with Cecelia Ngambi’s husband or indeed with anyone on ‘Zithumwa’ he found in the family bedroom.
The investigator went ahead to say the items may not be of any relevance to the case or charges to which the accused is answering.
This prompted lawyer Nkhutabasa to query whether bringing the items in court was purely to embarrass the accused person, to which the witness just laughed, and gave no audible answer.
In the continuing trial, Mphwiyo, former accountant general David Kandoje and one Auzius Kazombo-Mwale and former civil servant Maxwell Namata deny various counts, including conspiracy to defraud, theft by a public servant, theft by a servant, negligence and money laundering, among others.
Others who pleaded not guilty to related charges are Steven Phiri, George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda, Clemence Madzi, Rosevelt Ndovi, businessperson Stanford Mpoola, Fatch Chungano, Gerald Magaleta Phiri, Sympathy Chisale and Ndaona Satema.
Businessperson Limumba Karim remains a fugitive of justice in the manner as he is hiding in South Africa after jumping bail.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :