Cornelius Kaphamtengo who is accused with 13 others of stealing and sharing among themselves K201 million ($358 929) in 2011 from the then Ministry of Elderly and Disability Affairs through the Accountant General’s Office testified in court that his brother-in-law duped him into using his business documents and bank account for the ‘Cashgate’ affair.
Kamphamtengo told the court that his brother-in-law Conrad Nambala who was working as an accountant in then Ministry of Disability, sued his Nova Technologies and General Dealings company for his ‘cashgate’ activities.
He said Nambala took advantage of Nova company’s good reputation and history of doing business with government.
“My brother-in-law could just call me and dictate the list of people to be issued with cheques and the amount of money to be given to each of the people on that list. I could write cheques and send them to Lilongwe where Nambala was staying using courier,” Kaphamtengo testified.
Kaphamtengo told the court that he never benefited anything from the loot.
Quized by State lead prosecutor in the case, who is also deputy director general of Anti Corruption Bureau,Reyneck Matemba on why he did not verify the details of the contract his brother-in-law had with government, he told the court that it was based on trust.
Nambala, who is 9th accused person out of 14n suspects, wrote a letter to ACB explaining in details how he coaxed fellow accused persons to siphon government money in the ministry of disability where he was working with other co-workmates.
Kaphantengo ‘s lawyer Burton Phiri asked the court to consider the letter which he said he would like to use during defence stage of his clients.
Among others,Nambala in the letter he explains in detail how he approached second accused person Yvone Kaphantengo, who is his sister and her husband Cornelius Kaphantengo, saying he lied to them that he had won a contract with the government and he wanted to use their certificate as Nova Technologies and General dealers.
He also explains in details how he was distributing the cheques upon cashing the millions among the other accused persons.
The presiding judge Charles Mkandawire adjourned the case to Wednesday where there will be testimony from Kaphamtengo’s wife, Yvonne among other suspects.
The charges against the 14 suspects range from theft, money laundering, abuse of office and conspiracy to committing a felony.
The alleged looting of public funds took place between November 1 2010 and June 30 2011 and centred around Ministry of Elderly and Disability Affairs through the Accountant General’s office.
Other co-accused persons are Chikondi Chimutu, whose charge of theft involves K18.3 million of the K201 million, Emmanuel Yesaya whose charge of theft involves K27.4 million, Deusdedit Tenthani who allegedly got a share of K16.2 million, Tendai Nayeja (K27.1 million), Audney Kamitengeni (K9.9 million), Justina Nyirenda charged with abuse of public office as she was an accounts assistant in the Accountant General’s office and Squire Chakwana charged with theft of K10.7 million.
Others are Jimmy Mbuliro whose theft charge is K3 million, Wides Machika Mbuliro (K0.5 million), Tapiwa Ng’oma (K9.1 million) and Khumbo Banda (K2.7 million).
During an earlier hearing, the court learnt that subsequent revelations of the plunder of public resources in 2013 dubbed Cashgate was an upgrade of the theft of public money by the suspects from 2011.
In 2013, the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo led to revelations of the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.
Former president Joyce Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor, RSM (formly Baker Tilly), undertook between April and September 2013 which established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
In May 2015, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014. The figure has been reduced to K236 billion.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :