At the court in the capital, Lilongwe, lawyer for former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo, Titus Mvalo has asked court to delay corss-examining State witness Leonard Kalonga, a Cashgate convict and former Ministry of Tourism and Culture tourism officer until they are furnished with extra documents they have asked.
Kalonga has claimed in court that Mphwiyo and others lured him into the Cahsgate scandal – plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.
He also testified that Mphwiyo was the kingpin of Cashgate affair.
But lawyer Mvalo said defence could not proceed to quiz Kalonga until they are given the Treasury funding authority book for the period from July 2013 to September 30 2013, Itegrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) funding uploading records and minutes from the Reserve Bank of Malawi meeting of Septemebr 9, 2013.
The defence attorney told Justice Esmie Chombo that these documents will help them to cross-examine Kalonga.
“We cannot go on and cross-examine the witness whithout these documents,” the lawyer said.
“Looking at the serious allegations that the witness has made regarding [Mphwiyo] and appreciating that fair trial is paramount in the judicial system, it is our prayer that the requested documents be made available if the first accused is to competently cross-examine the witness,” defence lawyer said.
Lawyers for other defendants like former accountant general David Kandoje backed the application which did not please Director of Public Prosecution, Mary Kachale who wanted speedy trial.
But the defence argued that “justice hurried is justice buried.”
Kalonga—who was convicted of charges of conspiracy to defrauding government, facilitating money laundering and money laundering— claimed in court that Mphwiyo had told him Cashgate was a fundraising scheme for the then ruling People’s Party (PP) for 2014 elections.
Mphwiyo is the first accused in the Cashgate case and he is co-accused with 18 others.
The arrest of Accounts assistant Victor Sithole in August 2013 – now serving jail after he was found guilty of stealing more than $66,000 in cash- kick-started what became known as the “cashgate” affair – the worst financial scandal in the country’s history.
It became public knowledge a month later following the shooting of the finance ministry’s then budget director Mphwiyo.
Former president Joyce Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor, RSM (formerly known as Baker Tilly), undertook between April and September 2013 and established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
A financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :