The High Court in Lilongwe on Monday issued an arrest warrant for businessman Limumba Karim who failed again to turn up for the hearing of the K2.4 billion money laundering case and is suspected to have escaped from the country hiding in South Africa.
Lumumba was expected in court to plead to counts of money laundering in which former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo, 18 civil servants and contractors are accused of defrauding government of K2.4 billion through theft and money laundering.
Recently when Karim failed to attend court, his lawyer Wapona Kita claimed he is in South Africa for medical treatment.
Kita said Karim was born Asthmatic and his condition worsened and he was rushed for medical attention.
Director of Public Prosecution Mary Kachale disagreed with Kita, saying the court can’t believe the claims without proper medical reports which she said was supposed to be tendered in court as evidence asking for local medical report that necessitated the referral to South Africa.
Recently Lumumba was seen in a video clip posted on social media poking fun at Malawians citizens living in extreme poverty.
On Monday when court reconvened lawyer Kita asked to quit representing fugitive Karim.
“I would like to discharge myself from this case as counsel for seventh accused person Mr Limumba Karim,” Kita told the court.
“I can’t get got of him. I don’t know where he is, he is out of reach and since there is no word from him I can’t continue standing here representing him without communication when I don’t know his whereabouts,” the lawyer said.
And top prosecutor Kachale asked the court to revoke Karim’s bail and issue arrest warrant.
In her determination, judge Esmie Chombo ordered that Karim bail has been revoked and an arrest warrant be issued against him.
Karim is facing charges alongside Mphwiyo and others, including civil servants such as former Accountant General David Kandoje, Auzius Kazombo Mwale, Clemence Mmadzi and Roosevelt Ndovi. The list of suspects also includes contractors.
Others are George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda and convict Maxwell Namata who are facing charges of fraud, negligence by public office, money laundering, theft by public servant, theft by servant and conspiracy to defraud government funds amounting to K2 446 817 450.49.
Also charged is an expert in information technology (IT) Steve Likhunya Phiri . Others are Stafford Mpoola, Andrew Patrick Chilalika, Fatch Chungano, Cecilia Mervis Ng’ambi, Gerald Magaleta Phiri and Ndaona Satema.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :