Convicted PSs ask court to be heard before sentencing

The two convicted  principal secretaries (PSs) for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Grey Nyandule Phiri and Secretary to the Treasury Cliff Chiunda have asked the High Court to consider heading their side before sentencing them to prison or fine.

Lawyer Chancy Gondwe for the 2 PSs

The two were convicted for failing to comply with a court order to issue public apologies for a flawed procurement and disposal of tractors bought with borrowed funds.

Judge Charles Mkandawire who the found PS guilty for disrespecting a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal order in relation to the procurement and disposal of farm equipment bought with a $50 million (about K37 billion) loan from India in 2011, was set to sentence the two on Monday.

But their lawyer Chancy  Gondwe asked the court to hear the PSs side on the matter.

“The application  was for a stay on the heading for sentencing pending the rehearing of the matter because hearing of the matter took place in the absence of the two.

”In the interest of justice, the court has allowed that they should be heard,” said Gondwe.

He said Chiunda and Nyandule are new  Office-bearers in their respective ministries and should not be held accountable for an offence that was committed by others.

“They were serving in other offices,” he said.

The judge  has set August 19b2019 for sentencing hearing of the duo.

Chiunda and Nyandule were all present in court.

The case followed the application by Ombudsman Martha Chizuma  in the wake of a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal ruling of February 11 2019 for the two public officers to issue a public “apology for buying equipment that was archaic and sitting idle and deteriorating, thus, unnecessarily indebting Malawians and for the illegal selling of the tractors”.

The Ombudsman’s directive in her 48-page report titled The Present Toiling, The Future Overburdened, also recommended prosecution of the members of the internal procurement committee (IPC) and “those who presided over the sale of the farm machinery and benefited from the sale should be prosecuted in accordance with the Procurement Act”.

The farm equipment was purchased using part of the $50 million line of credit from Export-Import Bank of India with the intention to mechanise agriculture in the country.

The Tractorgate involved 100 tractors and 144 maize shellers. In total, 177 tractors were bought for distribution to agriculture development divisions (ADDs) to enable poor smallholder farmers graduate to mechanisation by hiring the equipment. However, only 77 tractors were distributed to ADDs while 100 were sold.


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Njolo mpilu
Njolo mpilu
2 years ago

consinment yoseyi anatenga ndi PS awili okhawa, nde ma dhulitu.eee kudya bwino kawawa
matako anu. muululane



Kapado Chimulirenji
2 years ago

Being new in their offices has nothing to do with ignoring court order. If the court ordered them to present themselves, they needed to to do so. What is happening now is a delaying tactic because they realise the embarrassment and other consequences they will suffer. In my view the conviction stands and they must fall – they should have realised that the law is above everybody. Mtudzu suufunika pa malamulo, osamaonetsa mphavu za ku ofesi ku khothi, lamulo lidzakukanthani.

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