In a case in which 14 people, among them government accountants and a private sector individual, are accused of allegedly conspiring to steal K201 million from government in 2011,suspect Conrad Nambala has confessed, to the court how he took part in looting of public money and how he used other suspects.
According to the charge sheet, the 14 allegedly shared among themselves K201 million between November 2010 and June 2011 and they are jointly charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and money laundering.
But Nambala, who is 9th accused person out of 14n suspects, has written the office of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) explaining in details how he coaxed fellow accused persons to siphon government money in the ministry of disability where he was working with other co-workmates.
The letter which was presented in the court on Tuesday by the first accused persons Cornelius Kaphantengo, who was director of Nova Technology and General Dealers, who has been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, theft and money laundering while his wife, Yvonne, is co-accused on the same counts.
Kaphantengo ‘s lawyer Burton Phiri asked the court to consider the letter which he said he would like to use during defence stage of his clients.
Among others ,Nambala in the letter he explains in detail how he approached second accused person Yvone Kaphantengo, who is his sister and her husband Cornelius Kaphantengo, saying he lied to them that he had won a contract with the government and he wanted to use their certificate as Nova Technologies and General dealers.
He also explains in details how he was distributing the cheques upon cashing the millions among the other accused persons.
But this didnt go well with other legal representatives of some of the suspects who demanded time to study the document which they said they just got it before they entering the court the same day .
They asked for directions to the court if they can be given time to have a look at it before the matter continues as it implicates their clients and they needed to consult them.
But State lead prosecutor in the case, who is also deputy director general of Anti Corruption Bureau,Reyneck Matemba told the court that the document which Phiri said want to use in defence stage shouldn’t derail the case which he said already has taken years.
Matemba said he had no problem for the counsels to consult their clients but wanted the matter to proceed with witness cross examination.
In his rulling, presiding judge Justice Charles Mkandawire said: “I find that much as this document might be useful, it is misplaced at this time as were yet to reach defence stage which has to come after a rulling whether the accused have a case to answer or not.”
Justice Mkandawire also advised all lawyers who hve s issues with the document to hold their patience and wait for defence stage when they shall be given chances to cross examine the author of the letter if he shall stand by his words in the letter or not.
He then ordered that the court should try not to be distracted by the document but that they must concentrate on evidence brought by the ACB officials supported by its documents.
Other co-accused persons are Chikondi Chimutu, whose charge of theft involves K18.3 million of the K201 million, Emmanuel Yesaya whose charge of theft involves K27.4 million, Deusdedit Tenthani who allegedly got a share of K16.2 million, Tendai Nayeja (K27.1 million), Audney Kamitengeni (K9.9 million), Justina Nyirenda charged with abuse of public office as she was an accounts assistant in the Accountant General’s office and Squire Chakwana charged with theft of K10.7 million.
Others are Jimmy Mbuliro whose theft charge is K3 million, Wides Machika Mbuliro (K0.5 million), Tapiwa Ng’oma (K9.1 million) and Khumbo Banda (K2.7 million).
During an earlier hearing, the court learnt that subsequent revelations of the plunder of public resources in 2013 dubbed Cashgate was an upgrade of the theft of public money by the suspects from 2011.
In 2013, the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo led to revelations of the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.
Former president Joyce Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor, Baker Tilly, undertook between April and September 2013 which established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
In May 2015, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014. The figure has been reduced to K236 billion.
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