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Auditor decries threats in Ethiopia Embassy fraud case

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Khumbo Soko

By Wezzie Gausi

Internal auditor who audited queries at the Malawi Embassy in Ethiopia, Spencer Mulekano, Monday told the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court that he was threatened in the course of conducting investigations.

Mulekano— who is the third witness in the case involving the alleged abuse of $537,201 at the Malawian Embassy in Ethiopia by former Malawi deputy ambassador to Ethiopia Doreen Kapanga and former secretary for administration and finance Fletcher Chowe— told the court that he was working as chief internal auditor at the time the audit was conducted.

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He further told the court that, after observing some anomalies in how funds were being used at the embassy, he had to make inquiries.

According to the witness, it was during the inquiries that people involved in the case started threatening him.

“During my audit, I discovered that three cheques worth $11,500 were cashed but the office could not indicate what the money was meant for. I also found other documents indicating that a sum of $30,000 suffered a similar fate.

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“When I questioned, Chowe told me he knew nothing about the money despite that the cheques were bearing his signatures.

“However, later, I was told that the money was paid to two Malawians, one working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the other working for the Department of Tourism,” Mulekano said.

In an interview after yesterday’s court appearance, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni told reporters that the court has set aside three consecutive days to hear the case.

The DPP said the State is satisfied with the testimony of Mulekano but that it would be up to the court to decide on the way forward.

“The State has, so far, paraded three witnesses, one from the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the former ambassador to Ethiopia Chimango Chirwa and, today, it was Spencer Mulekano. We are left with one witness, an investigator,” Kayuni said.

Defence lawyer Khumbo Soko asked the court to adjourn the matter, saying the defence was not ready to cross-examine the witness.

High Court Judge Patrick Chirwa, who is hearing the case at the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court, has since adjourned the matter to Tuesday, when the defence will cross-examine Mulekano.

In May 2016, Fiscal Police arrested Kapanga, a former deputy inspector general of Police and Chowe on suspicion that they were involved in siphoning $537,201 out of the public purse and depositing the money into their accounts.

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