Five in court over DPP ‘sins’
Five top former directors of two parastatals Monday appeared before two magistrate courts in Blantyre to answer corruption and abuse of office charges for materially supporting the former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF).
The managers are Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) ex-chief executive officer Alexious Chiwaya and director of human resources and administration Daphter Namandwa. Others are Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) former director general Godfrey Itaye, director of finance Ben Chitsonga and procurement specialist Joseph Ngalawa.
They were all arrested in August 2020.
The three seniors from Macra were arrested for allegedly authorising payment of K8 million to Mapeto David Whitehead for the printing of DPP and UDF attire while Chiwaya and his co-accused Namandwa have been charged with abuse of office after they allegedly allowed DPP functionaries to use a company vehicle BU 7249.
Itaye, Chitsonga and Ngalawa failed to take plea after their lawyers, Clement Mwala for Itaye and Fostino Mayere for Ngalawa and Chitsonga, asked for more time to look at the prosecution’s disclosures before they could advise their clients accordingly.
“We will not be able to make any objections to the charges after our clients take plea. We have not been given the disclosures by the State. It is our prayer that the matter be adjourned so that, after going through the disclosures, we can advise our clients,” he said.
State prosecutor Dzikondianthu Malunda did not object to the plea, prompting the court to adjourn the matter to February 8 2021 at 09:30 in the morning.
Immediately after dismissing the case, acting Chief Resident Magistrate Godfrey Balaka heard the case of Chiwaya and Namandwa.
The two suspects pleaded not guilty to the charge and the case returns to court on February 26 for trial.
After pleading not guilty to the charge of abuse of office, Chiwaya and Namandwa went straight to Blantyre Magistrates’ Court in the Central Business District to answer charges of abuse of office and fraud.
In this case, the two are being accused of authorising the use of Escom’s Puma fuel cards, numbers 26060 and 25644, by DPP functionaries.
Chiwaya pleaded not guilty to the charge while Namandwa asked for more time to identify a lawyer.
Resident Magistrate Blackboard Elijah Dalikwiza Daniels has since adjourned the case to February 9, when Namandwa will take plea, irrespective of whether he finds a lawyer.