The High Court in Lilongwe will this Wednesday hear an application by the State to revoke the bail of one of the accused persons in the K2.4 billion Cashgate case Stafford Mpoola.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale is asking the court to revoke a bail Mpoola, claiming that he has been intimidating prosecution witnesses not to testify against him in the case.
Mpoola is accused of interfering with State witness Daniel Ndembo jnr, son to Mpoola’s best friend late Daniel Ndembo owner of Dan Civil Engineering, which it is alleged he used together with his two other companies Stadal Building contractors and Image Investments to defraud Malawi government.
In a filed sworn affidavit by one of the State lawyers, Liness Chikankheni which Nyasa Times has seen, the State alleges that Mpoola has been trying to intimidate Ndembo jnr not to come to court to give testimony.
According to the application, the State had to take Ndembo from his home and lodged him at a hotel in Lilongwe as a way of protecting him as well as trying to persuade him to come and testify before court.
But in his response to the application, Mpoola through his lawyer Powell Nkhutabasa rejected that he attempted to interfere with a witness, saying it was Ndembo himself who has been contacting him as his late father’s friend to help him when he has a problem.
According to Mpoola, while knowing that he was a State witness, Ndembo phoned him last month to meet with another friend to his late dad, Mr. Mmanja from Ntcheu who was in Lilongwe with him (Ndembo jnr) and they all met but they never discussed anything concerning the case.
“That it should be noted that even though he knows that he is a witness he has been calling me; but throughout our conversations we have never discussed anything about the case. I am now surprised and shocked at this unfortunate turn of events because I never intended nor did I in fact interfere with this witness in anyway or at all,” Mpoola said in his sworn affidavit.
Mpoola further argues before the court that if the State knew that contacting a witness amount to breach of his bail conditions and that he would interfere with witnesses the DPP could not have trusted him to look for and contact state witness Jonathan Sanwed, his ex employee on her behalf
“In fact around January 2017 the state through the DPP herself, approached me in this very court when it was adjourned and asked me to look for Jonathan Sanwed and this is a witness who as the court will note has now testified against me in this very case, I went around looking for this witness and I met him and got his numbers which I gave the DPP”, states Mpoola .
He added: “The state is blowing hot and is being overly dramatic and or theatrical. Wherefore I pray that the within application be dismissed on the ground that I did not interfere with the witness.”
Meanwhile, Nkhutabasa has also filed a notice to cross examine one of the State lawyers Liness Chikankheni in respect of her affidavit as well as the affidavit of Daniel Ndembo jnr and Mpoola’s affidavit
This comes three months after the state made a similar application against first accused person, Paul Mphwiyo whom they also accused of interfering with state witness, the court is yet to make its ruling on that application as the alleged witnesses Francis Zhuwao and others already have given their evidence before the court in the case.
Mphwiyo, former accountant general David Kandoje and one Auzius Kazombo-Mwale and convicted civil servant Maxwell Namata are facing various counts, including conspiracy to defraud, theft by a public servant, theft by a servant, negligence and money laundering, among others.
Others charged in the case are Steven Phiri, George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda, Andrews Chilalika, Clemence Madzi, Rosevelt Ndovi, Mpoola, Fatch Chungano, Cecilia Ng’ambi, Gerald Magaleta Phiri and Ndaona Satema.
Businessperson Limumba Karim remains at large after absconding from prosecution and reportedly is in South Africa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :