The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday took to court ormer Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander General Henry Odillo (retired) and his then deputy Clement Kafuwa where they were formally charged in relation to a multi-million dollar corruption allegations and have since been granted bail.
At fist ACB brought the two – who were arrested on Monday – before Lilongwe Magistrate court where Magistrate Paul Chiotcha, committed the case to the High Court.
High Court judge Esmie Chombo granted the former top military bosses bail bonded with K2 million (about US $4,500) each, place a house in the upmarket suburb of Area 43 (for Odillo) and a lodge in Blantyre (for Kafuwa).
Initially, the State wanted a bail bond of K5 million (US$11 111), but after a plea from Odillo’s lawyers, the figure came down to K2 million.
The bail conditions also demanded the two to surrender their passports to ACB.
The two former top generals have been charged with abuse of public office, negligence by public officer in preserving government property and money laundering.
The two are accused of arranging a contract to supply military equipment which was never delivered.
In January this year, ACB also arrested a former MDF Lieutenant Colonel Nelson Kauwa whose company, Thuso Investments Group, was linked to contracts for the disputed payments at MDF.
Odillo and Kafuwa were apparently signatories of several cheques, including K3 billion to International Procurement Services (IPS) owned by businessperson Osward Lutepo—who is also answering his own money laundering charges—and K1.5 billion to Thuso, co-owned by Kauwa and Alexander Banda, according to information sourced from ACB.
Odillo and Kafuwa – who are being represented by lawyer Donvan Silungwe -deny any wrongdoing.
The former MDF commander appeared at court in a smart pair of cream-white trousers with a white shirt and a navy blue blazer. His wife was dressed in purple attire and chitenje (wrap-around cloth).
Kafuwa was dressed in a matching navy blue jacket and pair of trousers with a purple shirt.
The graft-busting body are pursuing them as part of an on going investigation into government corruption known as “cashgate”.
The “cashgate” issue came to light in September 2013 after the attempted assassination of the finance ministry’s budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
The September 2014 forensic audit report by British firm Baker Tilly found that close to K18 billion of the K24 billion plundered between April and September 2013 was channelled through MDF.
Odillo came to prominence when he thwarted the plot by DPP for Peter Mutharika to inherit power after his brother Bingu wa Muthatrika, then the country’s president, died in office in August 2012 – supposedly of a heart attack.
DPP had plotted a coronation of Peter Mutharika rather than Joyce Banda, who was supposed to succeed Bingu automatically, according to the constitution. Though originally appointed by him, Banda had later fallen out with the irascible Bingu.
It was probably only the chief of the army, General Henry Odillo, in the end, who thwarted the plot by refusing to back the plotters and threw a protective cordon around Banda. The plotters eventually backed off.
Banda duly succeeded Bingu, but was trounced in last year’s controversial election by Peter Mutharika anyway.
Mutharika then fired Odillo from the MDF.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :