The High Court in Lilongwe has reserved until next week Tuesday its ruling on whether former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others have a case to answer over involvement in the cashgate scandal, the biggest corruption scandal in Malawi’s history that took place in 2013.
Mphwiyo and others were charged with conspiracy to defraud government, holding property belonging to government, theft, money laundering, fraudulently issuing 24 cheques worth K2.4 billion, abuse of public office and usage of proceeds of crime.
The Cashgate scandal saw about K24 billion public funds vanish in six months when Joyce Banda was president of the country.
Delivering of the determination by the court has been postponed because two of the suspects did not show up in court as they are reportedly sick.
Justice Esmie Chombo told lawyers that the ruling is crucial and cannot be delivered in the absence of the concerned parties.
Two of the 19 suspects—Gerald Magareta Phiri and Andrews Chilalika—were absent due to health reasons.
The former budget director was shot at the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013 and former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara, businessperson Pika Manondo, Dauka Manondo, Robert Kadzuwa and Macdonald Kumwembe were convicted and jailed after being found guilty of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Kasambara remains a convict but was released on bail from prison after serving sentence months pending an appeal in the Supreme Court.
It is believed that Mphwiyo’s shooting opened a can of worms that exposed the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill widely known as Cashgate.
Former president Joyce Banda ordered a forensic audit which was undertaken by a British firm, RSM ( formerly Baker Tilly), covering the period between April and September 2013.
The audit established that about K24 billion was siphoned from the public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices of 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 in public funds could not be reconciled between 2009 and December 31 2014.
However, the K577 billion figure was later revised downwards to K236 billion by another British forensic auditor.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :