Mphwiyo’s lawyer quiz Kalonga in Cashgate case

Cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga on Monday  told the High Court in Lilongwe that he was not aware that  former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo was in United States  between August 18 and 28 2013, part of the period he claimed the looting was taking place.

Lawyer for Mphwiyo, Titus Mvalo SC

Kalonga—who was convicted of charges of conspiracy to defrauding government, facilitating money laundering and money laundering— is on record telling the court that Mphwiyo and others lured him into the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.

He is a State witness in the case which Mphwiyo and 17 others are 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.

When defence lawyer Titus Mvalo quizzed Kalonga in the witness box that the period of August 18 and 28 2013 Mphwiyo was in the US, he said he had no knowledge about that.

“Since you are telling me now, maybe he was in the US,” said Kalonga.

Mvalo said he would want Mphwiyo’s passport which is being held by the State should be released to prove that the former budget director had travelled to US.

The defence lawyer also punched holes in Kalonga’s credibility and oral evidence.

Kalonga was quizzed more on government funding and transactions.

He is on record telling the court that Mphwiyo asked him (Kalonga) and tourism ministry’s chief accountant George Banda to  be at the centre of siphoning money out of public coffers.

According to Kalonga, it was Mphwiyo who explained the Cashgate scheme to him and later asked him to sell the idea to people who matter at the Ministry of Tourism.

Kalonga said Mphwiyo also instructed him to recruit contractors within the construction industry to avoid suspicion when drawing large sums of money.

“Initially the scheme entailed actually requesting for extra funding and production of fake documents to process the payments, but once Mphwiyo became budget director, the modus operandi changed. There was no longer need for the Office of the Director of Public Procurement to issue no objection letters to the department of buildings to issue fake interim completion certificates. It was said that the Accountant General Department was fully on board,” reads the court statement.

Mvalo asked Kalonga if it was practical for budget director to impose a list of suppliers on a ministry.

“What are the tasks of the budget director? Can somebody from outside impose a vendor on the list,” Mvalo asked Kalonga.

“I wouldn’t know,” said Kalonga on the roles  and responsbilities of the budget director.

Mvalo put to Kalonga that any funding above K50 millio requires the approvals of a senior officer beyond the authority of Secretary to the Treasuty and the Minister of Finance.

Kalonga said he could not say if Secretary to Treasury or Finance Minister  were  involved.

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6 thoughts on “Mphwiyo’s lawyer quiz Kalonga in Cashgate case”

  1. Timve Zoona says:

    It’s a shame government prosecutors tend to be timid and made to look like fools by their private practice counterparts otherwise Mphiyo’s lawyer has just presented to government with some powerful ammunition:

    ** Mphwiyo may have indeed been in the States but as a civil servant a mere budget director what was he doing in the States? On whose orders?
    ** If the trip was privately funded where did he get the cash on his civil servants salary?
    ** We all know that Cashgate money did not go through normal government channels and as such as long as someone had access to make the necessary transactions in IFMIS (Such individuals have already been identified) funds over 50 Million could be procured so his lawyers argument about senior offers is absolutely rubbish.
    ** IFMIS security was so lax that anyone having access to the servers and the right passwords could make said transactions so Mr Mphiyo did not have to be physically present to engange in the alleged fraud.
    ** IFMIS computer have remote access allowing people to connect from other points thus again Mr Mphwiyo did not have to be physically present to engage in the fraud.
    ** The involvement of senior government figures has NOT been excluded and as such in invalid as a defense (Mwana wanga Mphwiyo…..need we say more?).
    ** The extra ordinary manner in which Mr Mphwiyo was appointed to his position and the vast authority and influence he enjoyed clearly points to very deep political connections and as such he was performing above and beyond the expected terms of reference for his position also invalidating this “duty”defense.
    ** Vendor lists are imposed on government contracts, supplies and purchases ALL THE TIME by influential politicians many cases can be sited of irregular procurement methods, the office of ODPP is compromised by politicians even the Baker Tilly report says this so gain this defense in null and void.
    ** Follow the money, subpoena Mr Mphwiyo’s financial records, his government payslips, talk to people he drank and socialized with, probe his business dealings those alone will paint a clear picture.
    ** Can a mere civil servant afford such an expensive lawyer as Mr Mvalo? Ask him how he is being paid (perhaps he will claim “well wishers”).

    Prosecutors, this case is yours along to lose but to claim a lack of evidence would be a great shame on you and prove you unfit to hold your position and unworthy of your qualifications.

    1. Charlie says:

      Timve Zoona, the lawyers handling the case have more and ready information. What you are presenting here are your thoughts, not really what is on the ground. And by the way, don’t rely on Nyasa Times reporters, they rarely report court proceedings correctly.

  2. Chaponda Mbala says:

    Mr Mvalo,, pa umunthu wanu, simukudziwa kuti Mphwiyo ndimbala ndamene anayambisa cashgate? kumakhala ndi mtima othandiza dziko man,, tindalama amakugailani mphwiyo kumamwera ma whiskey muma Lilongwe Golf Club umu mwati muzidifende mbavazi

    1. kamulonde says:

      Ndipo I always wonder why our lawyers always defend mbavazi. Mongadi Mvalo sakudziwa kuti Mphwiyo ndi wakuba? Nkale lonse……. Ndalama zomwe akuwapatsazo ndi tax payers money..

      1. Imbwa says:

        You have your job and Mvalo his too. He is only doing his job within the law. Umbuli bwanji? So to you once one is suspected then amangidwe without trial? Then that would be worse than a village operation if you fool Kamulonde and Chaponda Mbala were to be part of the judicial system. After the defence, Mphwiyo may be convicted but not without due process of the law

      2. Charlie says:

        Kamulonde, the law requires that a suspect be represented by a defence lawyer.

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