Former chief tourism officer Leonard Karonga has pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering related to cashgate scandal and has implicated former budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Lilongwe High Court Judge, Justice Fiona Mwale has since convicted him.
In his plea after admitting to defrauding government about K3.7 billion, Kalonga told the court that Mphwiyo told him that the money which was being defrauded from government was for campaign of former president Joyce Banda’s People’s Party.
Initially, Kalonga denied charges of theft and money laundering involving K105.9 million which he allegedly stole from the ministry between July and October 2013.
But private practice lawyer Joseph Kamkwasi, representing Kalonga, said his client had pleaded guilty to this money laundering charge of K3.7 billion “not to waste court’s time.”
Karonga was first arrested on October 17 2013 by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly conniving with different people to defraud government.
He was charged with money laundering and theft by public servant.
Kalonga told the court that Mphwiyo had told him and others allegedly involved in the cashgate that Banda wanted to use the stolen money for campaign.
He also told the court that convicted cashgate businessperson Oswald Lutepo, in his presence, once assured the former president in a phone conversation that they were going to find money for campaign.
Kalonga said the phone conversation was in such a way that he could hear what was being said between Lutepo and the other person he believed was the former president.
Banda has vehemently denied the accusations as a smear campaign for cashgate convicts to get amnesty by implicating her for political reasons.
Her spokesperson Andekuche Chanthunya blamed political enemies for using Lutepo as a political pawn to drag Banda into the muck so as to damage her reputation as a citizen of Malawi, wife, mother, politician and philanthropist.