Kalonga’s JB cashgate link ‘hearsay evidence’: DPP says guilty plea milestone in pursuit of ‘big fishes’

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale told High Court in Lilongwe during the conviction of former chief tourism officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Leonard Kalonga, who pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering, wrote her office narrating the cashgate scheme.

Kalonga arriving at court
Kalonga arriving at court

In plea bargain, Kalonga accepted wrong-doing to three charges of conspiracy to defraud government, facilitating money laundering and offence of money laundering.

The court convicted him on his own plea.

The convict said he was meant to believe that  the stealing of K3.7 billion public resources was for to fund the then ruling People’s Party (PP) 2014 tripartite election campaign purposes but never dealt with former president Joyce Banda himself but it was hearsay as he dealt with former budget director, Paul Mphwiyo in swindling government through illegal encashment of government cheques.

“On the involvement of the then Head of State, Dr Joyce Banda, Kalonga had no direct dealings with her,” Kachali told the court.

“Most of what he [Kalonga] knew, he heard from Mphwiyo,” she added.

Kachale told the court: “Mphwiyo informed Kalonga and others that the money he collected was delivered to State House.”

Law experts say ‘hearsay’ is evidence of those who relate, not what they know themselves, but what they have heard from others like Kalonga allegedly heard from Mphwiyo that the stolen money was being routed to State House.

The lawyer explained that judge Fiona Mwale has a discretion to admit hearsay evidence if she feel that it is in the interests of justice to do so and, not doing so would prejudice a party to the proceedings, whether that be the accused or the prosecution.

However, Kalonga stated in his affidavit that on just one occasion, he was present when Oswald Lutepo, another Cashgate convict and kingpin, deliberately put a telephone conversation he was having with then president Banda on speaker phone, the court heard.

“He thus once heard what Lutepo was saying assuring her [the speaker believed to be Joyce Banda] about bringing more money for the campaign,” said Kachale.

Kachale told the court that the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Accountant  General, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) and Treasury are among the top government institutions that were closely involved in the cashgate affair.

Kalonga said Mphwiyo also instructed him to recruit contractors within the construction industry – including convicted Laura Savala – to avoid suspicion when drawing large sums of money.

“Initially the scheme entailed actually requesting for extra funding and production of fake documents to process the payments, but once Mphwiyo became budget director, the modus operandi changed. There was no longer need for the Office of the Director of Public Procurement to issue no objection letters to the department of buildings to issue fake interim completion certificates. It was said that the Accountant General Department was fully on board,” reads the court statement.

Kalonga confessed in court to have bought six Marcopolo buses using public resources amounting to K520 million and the other amounts was sourced through tourism ministry fraudulently.

The court heard that Limbikani Gumbo an employee for Automotive Products where the buses were bought received the K520 million cheque from Kalonga.

The State has entered plea bargain deals with cashgate suspects to pay restitution in a greater amount to the stolen public funds and have lenient sentence.

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5 years ago

Sin shall be punishable, no matter how small or big it may be. Kaya wina adaba zochepa kaya zambiri, Malawians are feeling the pain. Whether now or then, the culprits must face the law. God shall finally give the unmistakable jurgement. Amalawi sitingamangovutika inu mukumakhala moyo ngati muli ku Paradizo!

5 years ago

Ndikutha kuona boma liwonongaso ndrama zambiri nkulimbana kuti amumange JB. Cashgate ikuonetsa kuti JB sanalembepo cheque cha boma or iye kulandira cheque kuchokera kwa unduna wina uliwonse bt all is politics and i wonder why boma ili likufuna kuluza ma millions ambiri kufuna kukamuputira dala JB while ppo are taking drugs without eating. Koma 5yrs muyimaliza inu?

Peter Mathanyula
5 years ago

DPP trying to cover the MK577 bn they stole during their reign between 2009 and 2012 by stressing that PP was the party that masterminded the cash gate. Pngachedwe maka MK577 bn idzaululika ndipo amalawi sadzakukhululukirani. Mbava zachabechabe inu. Mukuona kuba kwa anzanu kusiya kwanu. By the way MK30bn and MK577bn which figure is big??? and which one came first???? Mr Ibu musapange za mkuluwzanu kumumaga Bakiri chifukwa cha Mk1.7bn pamene iyeyo ankaba MK577bn. Muulungu sadzakondwa nanu and see what happened to your brother. The bible says uyambe wachotsa chitsotso chomwe chiri mdiso lako usanayambe kuchotsa cha mdiso la mzako.… Read more »

Ayatolla Pitala Mukhomeni

Brother to Willet Kalonga a DPP MP. The money was used to fund the DPP.

5 years ago

JB knew everything. When phwiyo was shot,she told the nation that she knew the people who shot him. She also admitted that she got a share. She also praised lutepo at a larry for a donation and etc etc

5 years ago

Wanga Gwede! Lets now follow the hearsay evidence. Kalonga stole the money. He was told by who and sent by who??? Kalonga gave the stolen money to who??? Then this who gave who????????
LETS JUST FOLLOW WHERE THE MONEY FINALLY WENT. PAJA ananena kale pa press conference dziko likumva kuti: ukatuma munthu wina kukaba ndipo akakugawira ndalama yokuba; iwe siwakuba!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5 years ago

It is so irritating to see so many failed attempts to link JB to cashgate by some quarters. So far most of these are unsubstatiated and driven by emotions and wishful thinking aimed at name damaging. If there is any substance in the allegations, we have bodies that pursue such issues either than MBCTV parading people to, onesidedly, present their views and misleading the public in the process. The public has so far heard nothing on the Mk92 bi.lion let alone the Mk577 billion. Politicising issues of cashgate will not help the country as donors and the public are waiting… Read more »

Lord Mansfield
Lord Mansfield
5 years ago

Iwe Footsoldier What Do U Want MCP To Do With Cases Which R Being Handled By Courts? Basi Zinangokulowani Mmagazi Zolimbana Ndi Congress, Its Not Partys’ Rsponsibility & They R Not Even Suposd To Coment Ma Court Azithananazo Zimenezo Enafe Tyeni Tizingolimbana Ndi Maumphawi Adziko Lathuwa

Foot Soldiers
Foot Soldiers
5 years ago

We quietly understand that you want JB. Kalonga waba yekha and you DPP has connived with him to implicate BJ. K577Bn yanu mwabisa. Zili m ma Account. Komatu musamale. Take care.

5 years ago

I am mightly disturbed that the main opposition party MCP has elected to keep quiet in the face of such shocking revelations! Is this in good faith or for fear of the possible involvement of some of its members (apart from those we already know such as the Logas) or just naivity or MCP as a party also hoped to benefit from a similar scheme in future or has already benefited from the present thieving scheme?!

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