Goodall buoy Chaponda in court: Confirms issuing licence for dollars found stashed in suitcases

State prosecutors had a rude awakening on Tuesday at Zomba Magistrate Court court when its 11th witness, Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe vindicated claims made by former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda in the case relating to the Zambian maize import transactions that he got permit to keep foreign currency.

Photo opportunity with cheers: Relieved Chaponda with ministers Goodall Gondwe and Henry Mussa outside Zomba Magistrate Court.-Photo by Chancy Namadzunda, Nyasa Times

Chaponda claimed he had a licence of possession of foreign currency that he obtained from Minister of Finance in 2004.

Between US$58,000 and MK124 million in cash was found after a search at Chaponda’s home last year.

Testifying before Zomba Magistrate Court,  Gondwe said indeed Chaponda had a licence for the forex.

Asked by lead state prosecutor MacMillan Chakhala what powers does a Finance Minister have pertaining to issuance of foreign currency permits, Gondwe said : “The Exchange Control Act says the minister is the authority in foreign currency, but can also designate the role to Reserve Bank of Malawi.”

He told the court: “But I can exercise that at anytime.”

Gondwe confirmed that he indeed issued the permit to Chaponda as directed by the Head of State in 2004  to keep some reasonable foreign currency because “he had an ailment that made him travel regularly for treatment and also as a foreign affairs minister at that particular time.”

The Finance Minister, who took 58 minutes to testify while seated, could also not explicitly explain whether the licence allowed Chaponda to keep forex in his residence or at the bank, only saying “the licence allowed Chaponda to keep a reasonable amount of forex wherever he travelled.”

Asked to explain what ‘reasonable’ meant in the permit, Gondwe could not define reasonable amount because charges differ time to time.

“I think your guess is as good as mine on that one,” he said while emphasizing that the permit was issued both to  Chaponda as a person and a foreign affairs minister and it remains valid up to now.

In his testimony, Gondwe contradicted himself with his written statement tendered in court which indicated that he issued the licence to Chaponda in his capacity as minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation but in his oral testimony Gondwe said he was instructed by the President to issue the permit to Chaponda both in his capacity as a Cabinet minister and as an individual

On the maize purchase deal, Gondwe said there was no way Chaponda could have forced  former Admarc chief executive office Foster Mulumbe to issue a contract to TransGlobe Produce Limited because the Ministry of Finance was central to the purchase.

Gondwe clearly said Chaponda did not act corruptly.

“The Head of State delegated  Dr Chaponda to Zambia in his capacity as Minister of Agriculture to negotiate with the Zambian President on the possibility that we purchase maize there. At that time, there was no maize available for purchase in the whole Southern Africa except in Zambia.

” So it was two ways, Dr Chaponda was looking for maize in Zambia while I was looking for the same overseas. However, we were told by our colleagues from Zambia that we should wait for the elections before purchasing the maize,” he said.

Gondwe added that after the elections in Zambia,  Chaponda went back to find if the maize was still there only to find that there was not enough for purchasing.

However, he reported that there was a possibility that there is maize in the country that can be purchased.

Gondwe said he met Chaponda’s co-accused, Rashid Tayub of Transglobe twice in his ministerial office.

“He showed me a letter that he can export maize from Zambia. During the first time, he had higher prices and during the second times he had a better offer,” he said.

Asked by  prosecutor Chakhala as to  who accompanied Tayub, Gondwe said he was accompanied by ‘a certain young man probably his relation and presidential adviser Symon Vuwa  Kaunda.

Asked by lead defence lawyer Tamando Chokhotho whether the permit authorised Chaponda to keep foreign currency within the country, Gondwe said it was both within and outside.

“Well, it goes like this, as a minister or a person with an ailment, he might travel outside the country today and come back, then after two days there might also be a need for him to travel again, so obviously the currency should be at home,” said Gondwe.

He also retaliated that he knew not of any consultation between Mulumbe and Tayub on the maize purchase deal, when he was asked by lawyer representing Tayub, Jai Banda.

Gondwe  also  said Vuwa Kaunda played no role in the whole deal.

The former Cabinet minister, who is also vice-president for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) responsible for Southern Region and member of Parliament (MP) Mulanje South West Constituency, is answering  two criminal counts of misusing public office and possession of foreign currency without the lawful justification.

On the other hand, Tayub and Grace Mijiga-Mhango, a businessperson and chairperson of the Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi (GTPA, face  offences of influencing a public officer to misuse public office and forgery, respectively. All the three pleaded not guilty.

They were arrested by ACB in July last year on suspicion of corruption relating to procurement of the K26 billion maize from Zambia.

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Youthquake
Guest

A Goodwill Gonndwe mwadzikumbira dzenje apa. Muyambe kutsogola ndinu. In case you thought saving Chaponda meant saving yourself, mwauponda. A strike action has to be organised to get you ousted from government.

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
In a country where morality and ethics are valued, public outcry would have been enough for the entire DPP executive and cabinet to appear before the national media and apologise. They would kneel on the floor, bow and show remorse. Public outcry and/or public perceptions should be taken seriously. Ordinary people should be looking up to its political leaders and not down on them. They should live with the highest level of integrity without question of their character. What we have here on the photo is graphic demonstration of “I don’t care” and “I am bigger than you” attitude. I… Read more »
This Is The Badest Gondwe
Guest
This Is The Badest Gondwe

This is a clear testimony that the reason we are facing economic problems is the weakness in Mr Badall Gonndwe. Let’s force him out now!

Billy Milimbo
Guest

Is was clear from the start that Chaponda was going to win the case. Anthu tinangokomedwa

DzukaniAmalawi
Guest

his conscious will judge him. If he is indeed innocent then its good; if not, then he has a problem and will still have a case to answer with his maker or his own children will take the burden oh his behalf.

How I wish
Guest
Unnu old vampire, You don’t like to see youths prosper, Only like to see youths suffer, Unnu set of vampire; Unnu old vampire, Only trod upon creation, With your bloody meditation, Unnu set of vampire; Unnu fight against upfullness, Unnu fight against creation, Unnu fight against Everything good for the younger generation; Unnu old vampire, Unnu drink up the old wine, Have no place for the new mind; Unnu set of vampire; Unnu fight against morality, You fight against integrity, Fight against everything good for the younger generation; Unnu old vampire, Do unnu wickedness at midnight, And unnu humble when… Read more »
Mind Reader
Guest
My Lord, Allow me to cross examine the honorable minister of finance regarding his conduct and reasons for considering the said application for “forex permit” from honorable Chaponda back in 2004. For your information, i am not a learned person but just as patriotic like many other Malawians hurting right now with your testimony, Hon. Minister. Firstly, how does a Malawian minister give permit for someone to keep forex in his house (within and outside the country) while in UK, USA of RSA? Doesn’t these countries have their own rules and regulatory authorities with regards to keeping forex in the… Read more »
Mind Reader
Guest

In other news, Chaponda’s enemies who spent millions of kwacha’s to frame him continue to spend money on social media thinking they will influence judgement in the maize hoax case. Unfortunately, courts don’t take fact on social media.

Prosper Kamwana
Guest

Looking how the evidence is being presented Chaponda will win this case unless there is judge shopping.

Patseni Mauka
Guest

proper indepent court would convict Chaponda; reserve bank disputed the licence; these political bedfellows were just salvaging DPP image and did it in poor way-

Liwu langa
Guest

If you want Chaponda convicted perhaps try judge shopping just as you did in mzuzu that time koma as it is ku zomba game yagona.

Connex
Guest

Umboni wa Goodall wabooola mmimba ngati judgement yachitika kale kikikiki

Hlabezulu Ngonoonda
Guest
The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) is the only authority mandated to issue such a licence. The issuance by the Minister should, at most, must be done on the recommendation of the regulator. In this case RBM. It could be possible RBM does not have a copy. It could also be possible that someone could reproduced it specifically for the court battle. But courts are astute. It is baffling that Finance Minister assumed the duties of RBM on the licence issuance. It points to a parallel licencing issuance system. Is it backed by any law? However, was the said licence… Read more »
Chamunorwa
Guest
The issue is not if Gondwe had a right to issue the Forex licence but if Chaponda had a licence to keep Foreign Currency. If the court has a case it must be against Gondwe who issued the licence. Whether the licence was valid is neither nor there. Read between the lines. Gondwe says Chaponda was sent to Zambia by the President. Our greatest problem is we are so gullible to falsehoods and the court does not act on falsehoods.. The case is falling like a deck of cards. Chaponda went to Zambia on both party and Government business. How… Read more »
Prince Kaliza
Guest

The issue of Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) being the only authority mandated to issue a license is debatable. Goodall is not stupid.What if there is that provision? These are high level people and there could be exceptions.

Mchape
Guest

Imagine the way they twisted the 577 billion to 236 billion only god knows

Omex
Guest

MCP thought they will base their campaign on the Chaponda case in 2019.It might have worked for them during the by election but not next year.By then people will have known the truth. Viva G.Chaponda viva DPP

Mchape
Guest

Everybody expected this shield from the beginning mulungu simunthu

Chikondi Katona
Guest

President Prof. APM decided not shield his senior cabinet minister/Vice President for the south even though he knew Chaponda had no case to answer.He let the courts who are independent to do their work. If ACB is failing to have facts that’s not DPP’s problem. God bless Mutharika and grant him good health as he is continuing ruling this country.

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