No bail for Malawi ‘cashgate women’, deny charges of money laundering
Four women arrested for being suspected of receiving government money for services they did not undertake in the Capital Hill cashgate scandal have been formally charged in the High Court in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe for fraud and money laundering.
The women; Sibongile Chimphango, Caroline Savala, Laura Savala and Kettie Kamwangala appeared before High Court Judge Esmie Chombo to take plea and denied the charges.
They remain in custody after Justice Chombo said could not determine on the bail because it was her sister Judge Ivy Kamanga who heard the applications and she would only be available from Thursday this week.
Businessperson Caroline Savala accused of obtaining about K84.9 million (about $213 000) from Malawi Government pleaded not guilty to the two charges of theft and money laundering.
Also pleading not guilty was building contractor, Laura Savala, accused of siphoning K160.6 million (about $401 500) through the Ministry of Tourism between July and September this year.
Another businessperson, Kettie Kamwangala, has been charged with money laundering and theft of K28 million (about $70 000) from government between July and September this year. She too pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Also entering not guilty plea was Sibongile Chimphango, who the State accused of stealing K286 million (about $715 000) for payment of services not rendered to government.
Apart from the ‘cashgate women’ , the court also formally charged Godfrey Dzanjalimodzi for theft and money laundering of K338 million (about $845 000) and Muzipasi Moyo for money laundering and theft of K355 million (about $887 500) from government.
But lawyer for Moyo, Gilbert Khonyongwa, pleaded for Moyo and Kamwangala’s release on the basis that they had been in custody since their arrests three weeks ago.