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Defence wants IMF forex report in court

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Defence lawyers in a forex misrepresentation case involving former Finance Minister Joseph Mwanamvekha and two others Monday asked the Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe to order the State to bring forth the Forensic Forex Misreporting Audit Report conducted by London-based auditors, Ernst and Young.

Mwanamvekha, alongside former Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Dalitso Kabambe, and former RBM Deputy Governor Henry Mathanga are answering charges of abuse of office and false accounting for allegedly forcing officers at the Central Bank to present cooked-up forex figures to the International Monetary Fund between June 2018 and September 2019.

It is believed that the three did so to paint a false picture that Malawi had a healthy forex position when it was not the case.

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Defence lawyers, through Senior Counsel Kalekeni Kaphale, said the Ernst and Young Forensic Forex Misreporting Audit Report will be able to point out when or whether the misreporting to the IMF was conducted.

According to Kaphale if the State fails to bring the report, the defence would know where to source it.

In her ruling on the matter, Chief Resident Magistrate Madalitso Chimwaza said the defence is at liberty to apply through the court for a Notice to Produce which will then be given to the State.

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On his part, Kayuni said his office would advise on the status of the said report when the defence makes an application of Notice to Produce to the court.

Yesterday, the State brought to court an amended charge sheet in the matter.

The court also rejected two applications by Mwanamvekha, including one to have his charges dropped, saying the State was charging the wrong person.

Mwanamvekha also wanted the case to be sent to the High Court to certify whether it is constitutional for one to be charged with allegations that do not apply to him.

According to defence lawyers, Mwanamvekha was not Finance Minister during the time the crime is said to have been committed.

According to the amended charge sheet, the three are accused of committing the offence between June 2018 and September 2019.

Police in December last year arrested Mwanamvekha and Kabambe on suspicion that they committed an offence of abuse of office, contrary to section 95 (1) and procured the commission of an offence of fraudulent false accounting contrary to section 335 (A) of the Penal Code.

Police said the two procured and masterminded the falsification of Gross Liability and Net Reserve Base returns with the intent of making the IMF believe that the Government of Malawi was meeting conditions connected to the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme.

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