Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe Tuesday contradicted a witness statement he gave to Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) on the conditions of a forex permit he issued to former Agriculture minister George Chaponda.
Gondwe said in his earlier statement that he issued the permit to Chaponda “specifically as minister of Foreign Affairs” then, but changed in court Tuesday that he issued the permit to Chaponda both as a minister and a person.
“When you came at first, I said I did not have full recollections of what happened that time (in 2004). The permit says the forex was for him to be able to get medical treatment for his ailment outside the country which means it was also to him as a person,” he said.
Gondwe who had to sit throughout his testimony also struggled to explain whether the permit means that Chaponda was at liberty to keep the forex in his house or at the bank, only saying that Chaponda was permitted to take a “reasonable” amount of forex wherever he went.
Gondwe also struggled to explain what he meant by “reasonable” amount.
State Prosecutor MacMillan Chakhala said the law would take care of the inconsistences in Gondwe’s testimony.
“You heard him reading from his witness statement that he issued the permit to honourable Chaponda specifically as a minister of Foreign Affairs and you saw how he changed. I cannot say anything but while some issues are taken care of by facts, some are taken care of by the law,” he said.
The other State witness Henry Mussa, Democratic Progressive Party Treasurer General, said he did not know anything about the K95 million which Chaponda said belonged to the party.
Mussa said the money might or might have not belonged to the party because fundraising exercises are managed by regional committees of the party and the funds are the responsibility of Regional vice-presidents. Chaponda is DPP’s Vice-President for the South.
Defence lawyer Tamando Chokhotho said the two witnesses did not prove anything to the State labeling the testimony of Mussa as a waste of court’s time.
“Honourable Henry Mussa was an irrelevant witness to the State and a waste of court’s time. Dr. Gondwe said he was not aware that Dr. Chaponda pressed Admarc to award a contract to Transglobe and he also confirmed that he issued the forex permit for Dr. Chaponda which he said is still valid,” Chokhotho said.
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