Former Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) chief executive officer Collins Magalasi has finally taken plea to charges of abuse of office and fraud in the K10.5 million Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members accommodation caseafter a series of adjournments.
Magalasi, a former chief economic advisor of ex-president Peter Mutharika, pleaded “not guilty” to the charges before senior resident magistrate Shyreen Chirwa in the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The former MERA boss is accused of using K10.5million Mera funds to pay for the accommodation of DPP officials who went to Lilongwe for a party meeting in 2018.
He is also alleged to have requested for funds during the same period for Mera sensitisation meetings but diverted them to the DPP members’ accommodation.
Director of Public Prosecutions Steve Kayuni has said the State will parade seven witnesses to prove the case.
“ We will parade seven witnesses to prove the case,” said Kayuni.
The case has since been adjourned to March 9, 2021.
Fraud attracts a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment while abuse of office attracts three years imprisonment, according to the Penal Code.
Later in the same court on Thursday, Magalasi and his co-accused business person Dorothy Shonga aka ‘Cash Madam’ and two Mera officials Patrick Maulidi and Bright Mbewe failed to take plea due to irregularities in the money laundering and fraud charge sheet against them.
The four who were arrested last year on charges of fraudulent accounting, misprocurement, and two counts of money laundering in connection with an alleged K107 million dubious contract.