Sixth state witness in the on-going K2.4 billion Cashgate related case involving former budget director Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others, Philip Thoko Majiga, has finished giving his testimony before the Lilongwe High Court and said he has no incriminating evidences against Mphwiyo .
Majiga, Budget officer in the ministry of finance and economic planning, however said the 2013 over-expenditure in Ministry of Tourism gives an indication that there was plunder of public resources.
He told the court he only came to the witness box to explain the process of funding approval before the ministry and government agencies starts to access the funds and making payments.
During cross examination by defence lawyers, Titus Mvalo SC, Shadreck Mhango representing first accused person Mphwiyo and Powell Nkhutabasa who is third accused Dr Auzius Kazombo Mwale lawyer, Majiga told the court that in a normal process and as the procedure at the ministry it was not possible for Mphwiyo to authorize funding for any ministry or special fund without the signatures and approval of the other two (deputy director who propose, and the Secretary to Treasury (ST) who approve the funds to be released and uploaded in IFMIS system)
“Normal process is as what I earlier told this court that after a detailed funding request from a specific ministry with certificate of completion of project accompanied with a letter from ministry’s controlling officer that is sent to the ST. The ST send it to deputy budget director who give us to work on the figures in our budget excellsheet, we submit it to the deputy budget director who after looking at it and agree with it sign and propose it to the budget director who recommend (sign) it to the ST who if approve he writes approved on the same paper and put his signature, then it is sent back to us to now start load the funds in the IFMIS system for the ministry to start making payments”, Majiga narrated.
Majiga told the court that without the approval of the three; deputy budget director, Budget director and Secretary to the Treasury the officers at the budget divisions that includes himself would not have putting the funds in the IFMIS.
When asked if it was possible for one to start the process of loading the funds in the IFMIS system and finish without any help, Majiga told the court that it is possible if the person has user rights to log in IFMIS but told the court that according to his knowledge Mphwiyo had no user rights to log in IFMIS.
He however told the court that he is the one who first discovered the anomalies in over expenditure of the ministry of tourism and that he shared the findings to the deputy budget director Mr. Pondelani and later on shared with Daniel Jenya from economic division.
This according to Mvalo contradicts what fourth witness, Daniel Jenya the chief economist told the court that he was the one who first noticed the over expenditure and took it to Mphwiyo.
But state top prosecutor Mary Kachale objected to the line of questioning, saying Jenya didn’t say that he was the whistleblower but rather one of the first people to know of the anomalies.
Court had to be adjourned to allow the two sides cross check tcourt records to see what really Jenya said during his testimony on the same.
Majiga told the court that he noted of the anomalies on the 9th of September, 2013 and shared the report to Jenya on the same day.
When asked if he was aware of any meeting that was held on the same date at Reserve bank of Malawi to discuss the same issue he said he discovered on the same date, Majiga told the court that he was not aware of a such meeting.
Another lawyer Henry Kadzakumanja asked Majiga if budget vote for Ministry of Tourism was the only vote that had abnormal figures, he insisted the figures surprised him.
“There must be something that I don’t know but I came to court to explain that I saw over-expenditure in the Ministry of Tourism which I could not understand,” Majiga told the court.
In re-examination, the Director of Public Prosecutions Mary Kachale asked the witness why the figures were surprising and Majiga said the officers in the funding section were oriented that it is not possible for an institution to spend more than approved funding.
“These are abnormal expenditures because they are not supported by funding from Treasury,” he responded.
The state is expected to parade the seventh witness on Thursday.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :