Former Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa on Thursday testified in a K2 billion Cashgate case involving former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) commander Henry Odillo and three other ex-senior military and civilian officials and told the High Court in Lilongwe that Thuso Group did not deliver any good to MDF despite receiving payment.
The case is part of the infamous Cashgate—the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill exposed through the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013—where about K24 billion was stolen during a randomly chosen six months period auditors covered between April and September 2013.
Odillo is facing charged alongside former deputy MDF commander Clement Kafuwa, former accountant general David Kandoje and Ganizani Kuchombo.
The four are accused of sanctioning payments to Thuso Group, a South Africa-based business group which prosecutors say was a fake military equipment supplier and, allegedly, invoiced and received pay from MDF amounting to K920 000 000 and ZAR30 000 000 (K1.5 billion) for supply of ammunition which they did not deliver.
Apart from the accusation of lacking a legitimate contract with Malawi Government and not supplying the ammunition, the Thuso Group deal is also said to have been overpriced.
Standing in the witness box, Kamphasa said when conducting an audit in 2013 the National Audit Office did not get hold of any delivery note of any ammunition contract between MDF and Thuso.
“After examining the terms of delivery, they did not produce any information relating to delivery of goods as evidence,” he said.
Kamphasa told the court that Odillo and his former senior officers requested for K2.4 billion to buy military hardware in 2013 and the government released the money but the hardware was not bought.
“There was foul play. The Baker Tilly report later showed that the money was not used for the intended purpose,” he said.
Kamphasa showed the court documents from the Baker Tilly report which indicate that no single equipment was bought in the military although all the money was given out.
Special Cashgate prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu gave Kamphasa various documents highlighting activities done within the contract which he analyses and the former Auditor General said there was lack of consistency in some of the documents.
“There were different addresses of Thuso Group. There were several letters talking about the contract and prices in different currencies as opposed to what was in the contract agreement.
“The invoices carried different accounts,” said Kamphasa.
The case continues on Friday for cross-examination from the defence lawyers Titus Mvalo.
In earlier court hearing. Mvalo, pointed out that his client was not part of the committee that awarded contracts to suppliers of goods at the MDF; hence, may not have conspired with Thuso in the first place.
Former MDF director of finance Harry Chawinga told the court that he was not consulted when identifying Thuso Group contract.
The “cashgate” affair came to light in September 2013 after the attempted assassination Mphwiyo.
Just days before, a junior civil servant was allegedly found with more than $300,000 in cash in the boot of his car.
More cash was confiscated from some civil servants’ homes and car boots.
Malawi’s donors then withheld $150m pending further investigation into the scandal.
Odillo and his three senior officers pleaded not guilty to the case.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :