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Acquitted cashgate convict still in custody

The police are still keeping in custody, Maxwell Namata, after the Supreme Court of Appeal acquitted him of all charges in a 2015 conviction.

He was convicted and sentenced by the High Court in February 2015 to consecutive custodial sentences of three years and five years for theft and money laundering respectively

But Namata did not walk free after the Supreme Court quashed the lower court’s decision because he is also one of the 18 accused persons in K2.4 billion Cashgate case involving former budget director Paul Mphwiyo.

Namata, who is being held at Lilongwe Police Station, made an application for bail after the Supreme Court of Appeal acquitted him.

He is in police custody awaiting fulfillment of some of the bail conditions before granting him freedom.

After the court adjournment yesterday, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mary Kachale, said the State is not objecting to Namata’s bail application but some bail conditions have to be fulfilled before he walks out of the police cell.

Kachale hinted that one of the conditions that Namata needed to fulfill was the bonding of some of his property to the application, which the court agreed with.

“All the accused in this case did so before they were granted bail. So, he still remains in police hands until some of the conditions are met,” Kachale said.

Some of Namata’s relations, including his wifes were at the court to welcome him home after three years of imprisonment.

In the hearing, the comparisons that the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) cheque clearing officer, Yvonne Jere, made on Tuesday have shown that the cheques deposited into the accounts of the suspected contractors in the Mphwiyo case were part of the cheque pad released in July 2013.

The bank released the cheque pad in question on July 16 2013 in response to the office of the Accountant General’s request for continuous cheque pads.

Jere’s comparisons show that the cheques to the contractors had numbers within the range of 014001 to 018000 and the identified cheques were all included in the cheque pad.

One of the suspects in the case, Clemence Madzi, signed the letter of request.

The signatories are also some of the accused persons in the case including the then Accountant General David Kandoje, Auzius Kazombo Mwale, Roosevelt Ndovi and Madzi himself.

“The numbers on the cheques show that they were included in the cheque pad,” Jere kept on saying.

The case continues on Wednesday when Jere, the 18th State witness in the case, is expected to continue testifying.

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