Former Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara has written the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mary Kachale urging the State to re examine the facts so far alleged and decide whether Kasambara, lawyer Wapona Kita and businessman Pika Manondo indeed have a case that they ought to be prosecuted for.
Kasambara in a letter sent to the top prosecutor seen by Nyasa Times comes after prosecution has amended and reduced to K785 million the amount which the former Minister of Justice , Manondo and businessperson Oswald Lutepo are answering on money laundering and obtaining money by false pretence.
In the letter, Kasambara argues that “confession of an accused is not admissible evidence against a co-accused” citing cases of Mulachila vs Republic 10 MLR 281 and Mathunda vs Republic 10 MLR 128.
Reacting to the draft amended charges, Kasambara said the DPP “deliberately omitted “to disclose written statement by Lutepo made to the Police on 30th December, 2013 a copy which he has sent to the prosecution.
The new charge sheet signed by the special public prosecutor on Cashgate, Kamudoni Nyasulu, In count one, Kasambara, Lutepo and Manondo have been charged with conspiracy to Section 35 (i) (d) of the Money Laundering Act.
Count four has Lutepo, Manondo then Kasambara and lawyer Wapona Kita trading as Ralph & Arnolds Associates charged with money laundering involving K55 million.
The amended charge for count three now reads: “Raphael Kasambara, Oswald Lutepo and Pika Manondo between 26 July and August 2013 at Standard Bank Ginnery Corner Branch in the city of Blantyre, acting in concert and furtherance of a common unlawful purpose, each or the others or all of them had in their possession proceeds of crime, namely seven hundred eighty five million one hundred and five thousand kwacha (K785 105 000.00) which they knew or had reason to believe represented in a whole or in part directly or indirectly money stolen or unlawfully obtained.”
Kasambara in the letter noted that the prosecution has now discontinued the then Count 4 that alleged that “Ralph Kasambara, Pika Pascal Manando between 22 April 2013 and 10 January 2014 within the City of Lilongwe, acting in concert and in furtherance of a common unlawful purpose, each or the others or all of them had in their possession proceeds of crime, namely eleven (11) motor vehicles and five billion six hundred sixteen million nine hundred eighty one thousand seven hundred fifty one kwacha (K5,616,981,751.00) which they knew or had reason to believe represented in whole or in part directly or indirectly stolen money”.
The letter also reads that they note that the alleged K785, 105,000.00 is in relation to Malawi Defence Force transactions and not the infamous Capital Hill Cashgate transactions.
Kasambara pointed material errors in the DPP amended charges.
“Raphael Kasambara and Wapona Kita were not partners let alone traded or worked together as lawyers between 26th July and August, 2013. You might wish to recall that during the aforesaid period Raphael Kasambara was a Cabinet Minister; and hence could not practice as a lawyer let alone run a bank account in the name of Ralph & Arnold Associates. Indeed from all the cheques that you have disclosed to us none of them was signed by Raphael Kasambara,” reads the letter in part.
It also points a material error by the DPP, saying “there is no such thing as ‘NEDBank, Ginnery Corner Branch’. We have checked with Nedbank Malawi Limited; and they have advised us of the following; they do not have a Branch at Ginnery Corner in the City of Blantyre. Oswald Lutepo and / or Pika Manondo do not have accounts with them. From the disclosure you have made no one has mentioned NEDBank, Ginnery Corner Branch. “
It adds: “Should you have different information contradicting the Bank, please serve the same on us. We would appreciate if you disclosed the account number and / or other details that will assist us in knowing how the Accused possessed the K55, 000,000.00 through a bank account.”
Kasambara’s letter said in his statement to the Police on 30th December, 2013, Lutepo explained that he was instructed by Manondo to issue a cheque payment to Ralph & Arnold Associates as the latter were lawyers handling his house purchase transaction.
“Indeed, you have also disclosed to us a statement by Mr. Winston Katenga Sibale who admits selling the house to Pika Manondo and the lawyers being Ralph & Arnold Associates. With this background, we wonder how Mr. Wapona Kita and Raphael Kasambara, SC can be said to be part of money laundering transaction when the former simply acted as a lawyer, and the later was not involved at all as he was a Cabinet Minister; and could not attend to private legal practice,” reads the letter.
He also asked the DPP serve the defendants with the witness statement of Harry Taifore Chawinga and Colonel Thomas Gilbert Chaona.
It also asked that since Lutepo is now an accused person, the prosecution should serve the defendants all the correspondence between Lutepo and the Attorney General; and also between Lutepo and the DPP.
The defence also want the prosecution to serve them s a copy of the offer letter to International Procurement Services (IPS) and contract that was signed between IPS and Malawi Defence Force; and also copies of cheques number 215985, 215986 and 215987.
“Cashgate” erupted after an audit ordered by former president Banda found that about K20 billion in state funds had been looted by officials in less than six months last year.
The scandal led international donors to suspend aid to Malawi, where half of its 15 million people live below the poverty line.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :