Cashgate convict and State witness in the K2.4 billion scandal Leonard Prince Kalonga on Thursday told the High Court in Lilongwe, which is sitting at Civic Offices, that he benefitted K50 million in the looting scheme but details seen by Nyasa Times show he had pocketed more millions.
Kalonga is testifying in the ongoing case which involves former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, former Accountant General David Kandoje and 17 others.
He made the claims that he benefitted K50 million when he was being cross-examined by one of the defence counsel Gilbert Khonyongwa.
Kalonga, who was Deputy Director of Tourism, in 2013, conspired with various suppliers to defraud the Malawi Government when suppliers received government cheques without supplying goods or services – christened as Cashgate.
Those plundered were mainly Ministry of Tourism and Office of the President and Cabinet, and Malawi Defence force.
Kalonga told the court that George Banda, a chief accountant in the Ministry of Tourism, had full knowledge of the looting and he roped in other accountants in the ministry;s department.
During the hearing on Thursday, Kalonga implicated accountants as some of the civil servants he was delaing with in the Cashgate scheme and that contractors were aware of the looting and some could even negotiate for a bigger loot for their companies to be used.
But despite Kalonga claiming he only benefitted K50 million, Cashgate investigation documents seen by Nyasa Times by Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) shows his National Bank of Malawi account received MK 55,600,000 in deposits between 13 February and 30 September, 2013 mostly deposited by himself and some two individuals.
“Leonard Kalonga made self-deposits amounting to MK 46,100,000, Ndaona Satema of Kanengo Building Contractors deposited MK5, 000,000, and William K deposited MMK4, 500,000. In total MK55, 600,000 deposited into this account,” the documents reads.
Kalonga’s KAZZ Cars Limited between 4 February and 1 October, 2013 received the deposit of MK 36,610,000. Out of this Karonga deposited MK 33,010,000, Mtambo deposited MK 1,000,000 and MK 2,600,000 was through cash transfer from a source which has not been established.
Funds deposited into KAZZ Cars Limited were immediately withdrawn as outward telex payment and cash withdrawals. In total MK 20,500,171 was withdrawn through forex transactions, the documents states.
Kalonga also benefitted from Kanengo Building Contractors registered in the names of Ndaona and Leah Satema which received MK 215,291,173.63 from Government through suspected cashgate payments between 26 April and 15 August, 2013 from Ministry of Tourism.
Kalonga directly benefitted from the account through 3 cash withdrawals as follows; 19 August, 2013-MK22,300,000, 27 August, 2013-MK26,290,000 and 2 September, 2013-MK20,380,000.
“In total Leonard Karonga directly received MK 73,970.000 from Kanengo Building Contractors (note-MK 5,000,000 deposited into Leonard Karonga-NBM 2157438 by Ndaona Satema). The amount represents 34 percent of the total amount of cheque payments Kanengo Building Contractors received from Malawi Government through Ministry of Tourism,” the document states.
In summary, through the three accounts, Kalonga received MK 161,180,000 through cash deposits into Leonard Karonga, KAZZ Cars Limited accounts and withdrawals from Kanengo Building Contractors account.
Investigators noted that it is “highly likely that cash withdrawals from Kanengo Building Contractors by Leonard Kalonga were his reward for having facilitated the payments.”
In court Kalonga is battling credibility issues with defence lawyers arguing he cannot be trusted as a witness.
One of the lawyers representing Mphwiyo, Shadreck Mhango, feared the State witness’ testimony was “tainted by virtue of your deceitfulness and dishonesty”.
But Kalonga dismissed the assertion, arguing that whatever he said in court was a true reflection of what happened in the scheme.
Kalonga—who was convicted of charges of conspiracy to defrauding government, facilitating money laundering and money laundering—is waiting for sentencing and it is believed the agreement with State is that he should implicate some suspects and gets bargain for lenient sentence.
He admitted there is a signed agreement with the State but insists he wants to help “in the process of justice.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :