High Court in Lilongwe has adjourned a case involving convicted former tourism assistant Leonard Kalonga to February 29.
On August 26, 2015 the court convicted Kalonga on his own plea of guilty for stealing K3.7 billion ($6.3 million) in the ongoing Cashgate trials.
He was set to hear his sentence on Thursday but has to wait longer as his lawyer Emmanuel Theu had asked the court to adjourn the case, saying he has issues to settle with his client who is yet to settle his legal fees.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director general Reyneck Matemba argued though it’s a constitution requirement to have any accused person represented with legal counsel they feel the period asked by the defence will not make any difference as they had enough time to settle their issues from November last year when the case was adjourned.
High Court Judge Fiona Mwale then granted the adjournment but warned the two sides to ensure they settle their issues between now before the next date as this was the last adjournment she will tolerate.
Judge Mwale said she will proceed to sentence the convict on February 29.
She has since asked both parties to agree on their disagreements as whether Theu will continue or not the court will use alternative way and proceed with their sentencing.
Recently, t he State rejected some property Kalonga offered for restitution on grounds that the said property, notably vehicles, were obtained using proceeds of crime.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale said Kalonga wants to make some sort of repayment, saying the offer includes a real property and some vehicles.
“As the State, we will accept the real property, but we have rejected the vehicles on grounds that we have information to lead us to believe that the vehicles are tainted property.”
The ongoing trial of the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill christened as ‘cashgate’ has seen many convictions of public officers.
Former president Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor, Baker Tilly, undertook between April and September 2013 and established that about K24 billion ($40.1million) 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 ($964.9 million) in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :