Malawi government is at fault for failing to commerce the fraud charges levelled again four Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (FISD) Limited directors two months after their releases on bail.
Since FISD directors namely Frank Mwenechanya, Arthur Mpama, Moses Chirambo and Kondwani Nanchukwa were released on bail on November 13,2020, the State prosecutors have failed to show up at court with formal charges as expected on the way the four were arrested
It has been learnt that on November 13, 2020 Magistrate Shyreen Chirwa advised both sides; State and defence lawyers to appear before court on December 15, 2020 for commencement of the case but the prosecutors absconded without giving any reasons.
FISD lawyer Gift Nankhuni told Nyasa Times in an interview that his clients were expected to hear from the State early this month on commencement of the case but nothing to date.
Nankhuni expressed worrisome on how the State are handling the case as till now the court has not been served with any document.
“The manner in which my clients were arrested, I thought the State had enough evidence against them but it seems the arrests were cooked up connived with the company’s competitors.
“This is very unfair for just arresting individuals without enough evidences but only malice to tarnish their company’s image that it loses business,” worried Nankhuni.
He added, “Up to date, as FISD lawyer, I have not been saved with any document regarding the arrest of my clients on case.
“The arrest of my clients was just meant to tarnish their image. A horrendous act sponsored by some of their business competitors. The court delays seem to be deliberate, perpetrated to frustrate them and their business activities”.
When contacted on commencement of the case, Magistrate Shyreen Chirwa disclosed that her office was still waiting the State to furnish with charge document on matter.
The magistrate said until the state submits charge documents the court will set a date for the case commencement.
When called for updates state prosecutor Moja Phiri in Malawi Police’s fiscal department handling the case referred Nyasa Times reporter to investigative department saying the matter was still probed.
Nyasa Times contacted key investigator John Petrol based in Blantyre for updates but he declined to comment on the matter, he again referred us to National Police Spokesperson saying his department has no mandate to speak.
Malawi Police national publicist James Kadadzera confirmed of his office winding up of the case investigation but declined to give more updates to the case.
“Give me a day also that I link up with other departments officers who were handling the case for more updates as since that time I have not been given any information. But as now nothing to tell you,” says Kadadzera.
Our efforts to solicit comment from the office of Attorney General (AG) were unsuccessful.
When FISD lawyer Nankhuni contacted again on what next move on the matter,
“Look this just vindicates us that the arrests were staged and cooked against my clients. But will not rest until my clients are cleared on fake fraud allegations. We will notify the public soon on the next move on the matter unless the state furnishes the court with charge documents”.
“FISD feels that if forgery really happened on a payment certificate in their contract with the Government of Malawi, then key people who signed the said certificate and staff who authorized such direct payment including AFDB Signatories were to be arrested as well”.
FISD lawyer also wonders how its shareholders would single handedly forge an AFDB document for direct payment from the bank’s overseas account.
The arrests came after industrial court faulted Malawi government through Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development for unfairly terminating a contract for FISD Limited Company under contract No. 021/SRWIHL/W/2017/015a-LOT 1 for the rehabilitation, and expansion of three gravity fed water systems in Ntcheu district.
The project is titled “Sustainable Rural Water Infrastructure for Improved Health and Rural Livelihoods Project”.
The contract valued at MK2.4 billion commenced on December 12, 2017 and was supposed to complete on December 12, 2018.
Nyasa Times understands that towards project completion period FISD through the project consultant requested for contract extension as the client wanted the contractor to do some additional works which were not part of the initial contract.
Among other works done including construction of water points and associated connection pipelines from water points to main lines.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :