Out with colonial wigs and robes in Malawi court on Odillo cashgate case

Lawyers will not be required to put on their traditional wigs and gowns in the High Court hearing of  former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander Henry Odillo and five other accused persons.

Kandonje and defence lawyer Patrice Nkhono and other coming from court, no more wigs in the matter. -Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times

Justice Redson Kapindu  ruled that lawyers in the court can now only put on suits and tie, due to the hot weather and the room which they are using in one of the new court blocks is yet to be completed and furnished with fan and electricity.

This was after defence lawyer Moses Nkhono asked the court to temporary wave the dress cross and that they can appear unrobed.

Dress matters aside,  Odillo, his then deputy Clement Kafuwa, former Accountant General David Kandoje and one Ganizani Kuchombo are suspected to have conspired between November 28 2011 and August 20 2013 to use public office to the advantage of Kuchombo and late Nelson Kauwa Banda, trading as Thuso Group.

According to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the prosecution centres around payments made by the military, between March and September 2013, to Alexander Banda of Thuso Group amounting to ZAR 30 000 000 (K1.4 billion) and K929 810 000.

Odillo, Kafuwa and Kandoje are further being accused of having R30, 000,000 and K929.8 million stolen under their watch “as a result of their gross negligence”.

In April this year, they all pleaded not guilty to all the charges levelled against them.

Former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, although not arrested in connection with the case, was also named as one of the alleged beneficiaries on the charge sheets as previously reported by Nation on Sunday.  But the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) denied ACB consent to prosecute the matter, but instead is now prosecuting Mphwiyo in a separate trial.

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