Court gives 21 days for submissions on Mpoola’s bail case: State fails to substantiate witness intimidation claims

Lilongwe High Court judge, Justice Esmie Chombo has given both the state and defence three weeks to present their final submissions to the court before the judge delivers her ruling in the bail revocation application against the multi-million Kwacha Cash-gate suspect, Stafford Mpoola.

Stafford Mpoola: Cashgate suspect

The state, through the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale last week asked the court to revoke a bail for the eleventh accused person in the ongoing K2.4 billion related case,  Mpoola for what they call witness interference.

The matter, which was heard in chambers by the presiding judge, Justice Chombo saw both the state cross-examining the respondent, Mpoola, who told the court that he has never tried to interfere with the state witness but that the witness in question, Daniel Ndembo Jnr, is the one who has been contacting him as his late father’s best friend to help him when he has problems.

The accused, Mpoola told the court: “I only called Ndembo Jnr once, but due to bad network we never spoke but we texted each other when I wanted a contact for one Mr. M’manja, another friend to his (Ndembo’s) late dad, who stays in Ntcheu and was due to visit him there in the coming week.”

The matter, which took close to three hours, with both the state and defence teams trying to prove their cases, saw the state lawyer who is on DPP prosecution team, Liness Chikankheni being cross examined by the defence lawyer, Powell Nkhutabasa.

Chikankheni informed the court that the state has spent over half a million Kwacha for some lodging and logistics of some witnesses who have been complaining of receiving some threats from the accused persons but failed to produce receipts from the said hotels when was asked to produce the evidence to substantiate her claims saying there’s no receipts.

Chikankheni also failed to tell the court where the said witness Ndembo was lodging and show the court any receipts to make the court believe her claims that the state was spending the acclaimed amount of money to keep the said witness at a hotel for their alleged security.

Conversely, Nkhutabasa argued before the court that there is no evidence that Ndembo was being intimidated and that he was lodging at a hotel by the State as the witness’s statement by Ndembo mentions nothing on him being lodged at a hotel.

The court has since asked both the state and defence to file the submissions before the court by 24th November, 2017 before it makes its determination on the matter.

Roughly K20 billion went missing during the tenure of Joyce Banda as president and another K236 billion went missing over the eight years of the presidency of the late Bingu wa Mutharika.

About 30 per cent of the country’s budget could have been looted over a decade – almost as much as donors have provided Malawi over the same period.

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