The High Court Esmie Chombo has found former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others with a case to answer in the cashgate case in which the group is accused of embezzling K2.4 billion public funds.
Mphwiyo is the most high profile face in the K2.4 billion trial that also has former Accountant General David Kandoje, Steven Phiri, George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda, Andrews Chilalika, Auzius Kazombo-Mwale, Clemence Madzi and Roosevelt Ndovi.
Others are businessperson Stanford Mpoola, Fatch Chungano, Symphathy Chisale, Cecilia Ng’ambi, Stanley Mtambo, Gerald Magareta Phiri and Ndaona Satema.
Businessperson Limumba Karim, who jumped bail and is a fugitive in South Africa will be extradited to face the trial in Malawi.
One of the suspect, Maxwell Namata died.
They were charged with conspiracy to defraud government, holding property belonging to government, theft, money laundering, fraudulently issuing 24 cheques worth K2.4 billion, abuse of public office and usage of proceeds of crime.
The former budget director was shot at the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013 and former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara, businessperson Pika Manondo, Dauka Manondo, Robert Kadzuwa and Macdonald Kumwembe were convicted and jailed after being found guilty of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Kasambara remains a convict but was released on bail from prison after serving sentence months pending an appeal in the Supreme Court.
It is believed that Mphwiyo’s shooting opened a can of worms that exposed the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill widely known as Cashgate.
Former president Joyce Banda ordered a forensic audit which was undertaken by a British firm, RSM ( formerly Baker Tilly), covering the period between April and September 2013.
The audit established that about K24 billion was siphoned from the public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices of 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 reconciled between 2009 and December 31 2014.
However, the K577 billion figure was later revised downwards to K236 billion by another British forensic auditor.
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