The 26th State witness in the K2.4 billion Cashgate case, Gerald Chiwanda, a detective officer at Fiscal Police on Friday stunned a packed courtroom in Lilongwe , when he emphatically told the High Court that he does not believe his own testimony.
He was testifying in the criminal case in which former budget director Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others are accused of being involved in the squander of public funds in 2013.
During Examination-In-Chief on Wednesday by State Prosecutor, Enock Chibwana, Chiwanda, among others, tendered a statement by businessman Stanford Mpoola which alleged that Mpoola was approached by ruling Democrtaic Progressive Party (DPP) deputy director of youth Hophmally Makande to be used in cashgate.
Makande, reportedly approached Mpoola when he was serving in the then ruling People’s Party (PP).
It also alleged that Mphwiyo approached Mpoola and that Mpoola used to handover money from his Stadal Constructions projects to Mphwiyo to give to PP leadership.
But during cross-examination on Friday, one of the defense counsel, Powell Nkhutabasa, who is representing Mpoola grilled Chiwanda on his testimony.
He asked Chiwanda how many statements they took from Mpoola. In his response, Chiwanda said he recorded several statements from the accused person.
Asked whether he believed any of the statements he obtained from Mpoola and tendered in court as part of his evidence, Chiwanda emphatically replied that he did not believe any of the statements that he obtained from Mpoola.
Nkhutabasa asked the same question four times and an unmoved Chiwanda emphatically responded that, “ No, I do not believe any of the statements (obtained from Mpoola and tendered in this court).”
Even asked in a different manner as to whether he believed some of the elements of the statement he had tendered, Chiwanda remained emphatic that he did not at all believe the statement or any part of the statement including the allegation that Mpoola was giving money to Mphwiyo to handover to leadership of People’s Party.
As Nkhutabasa told presiding Judge Esme Chombo, that he had no further questions for the witness, the prosecution team looked stunned.
Speaking to Nyasa Times some of the defense lawyers after the September sitting session, they spoke highly of Chiwanda as a seasoned investigator with integrity.
“ Assistant Commissioner Chiwanda, is a very respected and seasoned investigator who was one of the lead investigators of cashgate. If you noted, his testimony was very professional, objective, and truthful. Besides that, it would take a person of serious integrity to tell a court that although I am here to testify against so and so, I do not believe what I tendering to be true,” said one of the defence attorney.
Chiwanda is the Deputy Head of Fiscal and Fraud department at Malawi Police.
Before the court adjourned on Friday, the State tried in vain, during re-examination of Chiwanda, to make him tell the court that they were some elements he believed but respected and Judge Chombo, swiftly sustained an objection from defense counsel, Nkhutabasa who objected to the line of questioning by state prosecutor Enock Chibwana that made Chiwanda to tell the court that he believed in some statements.
Said Judge Chombo: “I remember Counsel (Nkhutabasa) asked the witness several times, four I think, whether he believed the statements he tendered or any elements of them. At all times, the witness categorically responded that he did not believe them or any element of them. We can not allow any other explanation to alter that.’
The court has since been adjourned to November where the state is expected to parading its witnesses.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :