Former budget director in the Ministry of Finance Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others who are answering a K2.4 billion Cashgate case have on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 applied to court through their lawyer Powell Nkhutabasa for a suspension of the case.
Mphwiyo and others are claiming mistrial by the former High Court judge Esme Janet Chombo now appointed Ambassador to Washington. They are pleading for a fresh start to its trial.
Said Nkhutabasa: “We did apply that the case should be suspended, and that there should be a fresh start. We gave our reasons.”
Among other things, the defence argued that since a new judge had been assigned to the case, trial needed to have a fresh start.
But Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Steve Kayuni, suppressed the application indicating that they were a non-starter.
“There is no need. There is no merit in the application,” Kayuni said in a brief interview with TTV.
Earlier this month the Judiciary assigned Judge Ruth Chinangwa to take over the K2.4 billion cashgate case.
Civil society organisations protested against the appointment of Judge Chombo citing sabotage by a cartel of criminal syndicate which stole money from government coffers to fund Peoples Party of then President Joyce Banda besides pursuit of an above salary earnings lifestyle.
The CSOs also alleged that President Chakwera was hoodwinked to appointing Judge Chombo by Joyce Banda who was named in court to have taken proceeds of the loot.
However, Joyce Banda has not been arrested nor charged despite President Chakwera promising Malawians during campaign period that he would seek justice on Banda’s involvement in the Cashgate scandal.
A notice dated August 2, signed by Assistant Registrar for Criminal Division, Madalitso Khoswe Chimwaza, advised all parties to the case and their lawyers to meet Chinangwa on August 10.
“Let all parties and counsel appearing in the above matter attend court before Judge R. Chinangwa on 10th day of August 2021 at 9:00 in the forenoon at the Civil Division Registry for planning and directions on the further conduct of the matter,” the notice reads.
Chombo handled the criminal case, number 35 of 2014, for over five years, from 2015 to May this year, when she delivered her last ruling on an application by the suspects that she should recuse herself in the case.
The parties are expected to meet again on September 7, 2021 where a determination the defence’s application will be made.
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, Sympathy Chisale, Cecilia Ng’ambi, Stanley Mtambo, Gerald Magareta Phiri and Ndaona Satema.
Two suspects Maxwell Namata and businessperson Limumba Karim – who jumped bail and was a fugitive in South Africa – died in car accidents. The later died in a Rolls Royce that exploded with Zimbabwe’s “get rich, die young” billionaire – Ginimbi Genius Kadungure.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :