Businessman Limumba Karima, his co-accused Sympathy Chisale failed to appear in High Court on Wednesday in the K2.4 billion money laundering case in which former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo is among the accused.
Lumumba and Chisale were wanted in court to plead to counts of money laundering in which 18 civil servants and contractors are accused of defrauding government of K2.4 billion through theft and money laundering.
The suspects were first expected in court on Tuesday, but did not turn up, and were no show again Wednesday.
Director of Public Prosecution, Mary Kachale told the court that her office has noted the absence of suspects Chisale and Karim respectively for the second day and demanded an explainatjons from their lawyers .
A team of lawyers representing the suspects said the two were out of the country.
Lawyer Gift Khonyongwa told the court that his client, Chisale is in Mozambique and is set to return back home.
According to Khonyongwa, Chisale traveled to Mozambique to repatriate his truck which was involved in an accident and the driver was in unreliable state to drive the vehicle as it had to be towed.
He told the court that his client had assured him to be back by Monday but failed to security concerns in Mozambique as he had to wait for police escort . He was very apologetic for not appearing in court and prayed to the court not to revoke his bail conditions.
Lawyer representting, 1Limumba Karim, Wapona Kita told the court that his client is currently in South Africa for medical treatment.
Kita said Karima was born Asthmatic and his condition worsened a week ago and he was rushed for mediicaal attention in South Africa.
He the court that Karim was set to return home by Monday but that his conditions worsened as such he couldn’t make it.
Lumumba was seen in a video clip posted on social media poking fun at Malawians citizens iving in extreme poverty.
While agreeing with Khonyongwa plea, top prosecutor Kachale disagreed with Kita, saying the court can’t believe the allegations 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.
But Kita challenged the state to make enquiries to Limumba’s personal doctor, Doctor Kalambo who has been treating him from way back and knows his Asthmatic conditions.
In her determination, judge Esmie Chombo ordered that Karim should bring his medical reports both from Malawi doctor and South Africa hospital at the next court session failing which it shall necessitate for state to apply for his bail revocation.
Karim and Chisale are facing charges alongside Mphiyo 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.
The High Court operated from an improvised courtroom in the Lilongwe City Council Chamber following an earlier concern that the courtrooms at the court complex in Lilongwe did not have enough space to comfortably accommodate the accused persons, their lawyers and well-wishers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :