Malawi ‘cashgate’: Witness refuses to testify

One of Malawi’s ‘cashgate’ cases in which businessman cum politician Wyson Zinyemba Soko is answering  charges of theft and money laundering involving about K40 million is hanging in limbo after three witnesses have refused to testify.

The witnesses who have refused to testify are interdicted Chief Tourism officer Leonard Kalonga alongside George Banda and Michael Mphatso.

The three were invited to be witnesses by one of the Special State prosecutors Enock Chibwana.

Kalonga: Refuses to testfy
Kalonga: Refuses to testfy

Chibwana has since confirmed the refusal of the three to testify in the matter and he said defence lawyer, Henry Kadzakumanja has already told the court about the development.

“The court set today (21 August, 2014) to give chance to the defence to parade more witnesses. But the defence lawyer told the court that the witnesses they invited are unwilling to testify because they are also answering money laundering charges in other cases,” Chibwana said.

However, the other witness the defence invited, former Accountant General David Kandoje testified in the matter in earlier hearings.

Chibwana said in view of the development, the case has since been closed.

Magistrate Patrick Chirwa has directed that the defence should submit written submission to the court within 14 days (from yesterday) and seven days later, the state should submit their response to the defence’s submissions.

The Magistrate has set 30th September 2014 as a day he will deliver his ruling in the matter.

An independent audit into the ‘Cashgate’ scandal by Baker Tilly, a British auditing firm, established that almost K13 billion was siphoned from government purse with around K6.1 billion being paid out to 16 companies for services that had not been supplied.

Besides that payments with no documentation accounted for a further K4 billion. The auditing also found that supply contracts had been inflated by K3.6 billion.

In the ongoing cases several former government officials have been linked to the scandal. These include former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara.

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