Former Malawi Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo, whose shooting on 13 September 2013 led to the unravelling of the systematic looting of millions of government money dubbed ‘cashgate’, has been implicated to have lured Leonard Kalonga, a former assistant director in the Ministry of Tourism, who was convicted over Cashgate corruption scandal, according to testimonies in court.
Kalonga told the High Court in Lilongwe presided by Justice Esmie Chombo that he knew some of the accused persons personally as friends before the cashgate issue while others he came to know them due to the cashgate scheme.
“While working with the ministry of tourism, I had a friend who I had known for some time after we developed a friendship as he had bought me few cars from my business; his name was Mr. Makina who was working at the accountant general office.
“In April 2013, he was in diplomatic posting going to Harare , as a friend I escorted him to the airport and while chatting there, I kept envying him for the lucky as everyone in those days envy to work in diplomatic mission. It was through this chat that he said I can introduce to you to the people who matter in government for you to excel in your career as well as if you want to cherish the dreams of being posted to diplomatic mission.
“I remember he made a call to this top official whilst I was there unfortunately he didn’t pick the call but he just sent a text message telling me he will call me but in case he doesn’t, he gave me his number without a name, the number is in one of my phone in custody of ACB (Anti Corruption Bureau) but I can recall it had more 3s,” Karonga narrated to the court Kalonga
According to Kalonga after he got home he called the number and the gentleman agreed with him to meet the same week Saturday at Total filling station along Ufulu Gardens lodge behind the Petroda filing station which was opposite Area 30 police at 9am.
Kalonga told the court that it was at this meeting that he realised that the said top official was one Paul Mphwiyo even before the introduction after he saw the car it was coming which was latest SUV/ USV Mercedes Benz which in that year it was first of its kind in Lilongwe and as a car dealer he used to admire the car every time he saw it on the road hence he knew it was for Mphwiyo.
He said it was at that meeting that Mphwiyo told him that he would link him to “the people that matter in government.2
Mphwiyo asked him to corporate and fund People’s Party which was in government using ministry money and he will help if incorporate one influential person like chief accountant from his office.
“I was excited, the following Monday I talked to our ministry Chief Accountant Mr George Banda (cash gate suspect too) of the issue and he said he ever heard of it in grapevine but wasn’t sure if indeed that works to fund a political party in government without being caught.
“We were all excited looking at the rewards like promotion, being sent to diplomatic posting and monetary rewards especially like me been working as assistant director in the ministry of tourism for ten years without any promotion so too was my colleague GN Banda hence we agreed to give it a try.” narrated Kalonga .
Kalonga told the court how Mphwiyo gave him instructions to write for extra funding outside their votes and how he recruited some contractors to be used to cash the cheques on trust that they get 10 percent share from the money they will cash from the cheques
He identified most of the contractors who are answering different charges of money laundering and lending a certificate for impersonation in the case having worked with them and some being the one he used to siphon the money.
“I personally dealt with Madula construction, WEK construction, Kanengo building contractors, Makhausi Construction, Walusako General Dealers, Faith Construction, Paol logistics, Kamu Civil engineering , Protem civil engineering, standard freight services and Megan construction.WG construction, Stadal building contractors, Image contractors, Dan construction were recruited by Mr. Mphwiyo.
“ Along the scheme, faith construction introduced to me Mchemani construction, Mr. Namata brought in Harry civil engineering, Mr. Mphatso (suspect too) brought in Valema construction while WG construction brought in Sky blue construction.”
Kalonga testimony continues tomorrow ,Tuesday 10th January, 2017 at Civic offices chamber from 9am.
He is testifying in a case in which Mphwiyo, 18 civil servants and contractors are accused of defrauding government of K2.4 billion through theft and money laundering.
Mphwiyo 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 fugitive Limumba Karima, Stafford Mpoola, Andrew Patrick Chilalika, Fatch Chungano, Cecilia Mervis Ng’ambi, Gerald Magaleta Phiri and Ndaona Satema.
Mphwiyo’s shooting unravelled ‘cashgate’ and the resultant discovery that up to US $30 million was minted from the government payment system, where politicians and businessmen colluded with civil servants for payments for goods and services not rendered to government.
Soon after Mphwiyo’s shooting millions of cash in Malawi kwacha, US dollars and South African rands started pitching up in unlikely places like in car trunks, baby dolls, under beds or in pillow cases.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :