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Jean Mathanga, John Kandulu charged

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Former chairperson of the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Jean Mathanga and the company’s former Chief Executive Officer, John Kandulu, who were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday, were Friday charged with two counts each when they appeared at the Blantyre Magistrates Court, before being granted bail.

Mathanga has been charged with giving false evidence and neglecting official duties while Kandulu has been charged with neglecting official duties and as a public officer, performing functions corruptly.

Mathanga is being accused of giving false information to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officers in 2017.

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On neglecting official duties, she is being accused of authorising the payment for goods worth K1.4 billion without following procedures in the 2015/16 financial year.

Kandulu is being accused of neglecting his duties in the same financial year when he used his position to influence the then Director of Finance at Escom to pay for goods worth K4 billion without following procedures.

Among the bail conditions, Mathanga has been ordered to pay a cash bond of K2 million while Kandulu has been ordered to pay a cash bond of K1.5 million.

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They have also been ordered to surrender their travelling documents and report to ACB offices every two weeks.

The two were arrested along with Escom’s former Director of Procurement, Fanuel Nkhondo and Senior Procurement Officer, Emilius Kandapo, who have been charged with offences of abusing a public office.

Meanwhile, ACB’s Senior Legal and Prosecutions Officer, Chikumbutso Harawa, who is also representing the state, asked the court to adjourn the case as the state has applied for consent from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and is waiting for feedback, and would need about three weeks to finalise other processes.

“Basically, I mentioned two reasons. The first one is that we were not ready with the consent from the Director of Public Prosecutions, but as I earlier on stated that we applied for the consent.

“So we may have it any time soon and there are certain things that we have to do in readiness for the commencement of the case,” Harawa said.

Senior Resident Magistrate Emelia Chidule granted the wish, and ordered that the case should return on August 18.

The four were arrested by the ACB on Thursday and spent a night in police custody.

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