Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) former chief executive officer Collins Magalasi and three others will re-enter plea in the case where they are answering fraud and money laundering charges.
This follows the amendment of charges in which the money they are being suspected to have misappropriated has jumped from K107 million to K186 million, Director of public Prosecutions Steven Kayuni has said.
Tuesday, the last witness in the case, a police investigator, failed to give his testimony after the defence protested developments surrounding the amendments, saying they were yet to be served with the amended charge sheet.
High Court Judge Patrick Chirwa, sitting as Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate, adjourned the case to May 5 2022.
“We have new invoices and additional transactions which clearly show that the money involved is moving from K107 million to K186 million. We indicated to the court about the amendments and there were processes that needed to be undertaken [including serving] the defence with the amended sheets. Today, they asked for time to look at the documents and the court has given us direction,” Kayuni said.
He, however, maintained that the defence was served with the documents but defence lawyer Andy Kaonga said in a separate interview that he had not seen the amended documents, describing the changes as unfair to his clients.
“The amendment is coming after we have already done 11 witnesses, the evidence that was being presented all along was to do with K107 million and now they want to present a charge sheet with more money with just one witness to go. This is unfair and it is like we are in a hide-and-seek game,” he said.
Kaonga said they would wait to be served with the right documents so that they could liaise with their clients on what kind of plea to take when the case is back in court.
On February 17 2022, Magalasi, Patrick Maulidi, Bright Mbewe and Dorothy Shonga pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering charges the State had presented to the court.
Magalasi also denied the charge of abuse of office in which he is being accused of abusing office for allegedly authorising accommodation payments of about K10.5 million for the then governing Democratic Progressive Party officials.