Chief Resident Magistrate Madalitso Chimwaza has given the State 14 days to amend the charge sheet in a court case involving former Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamveka, and former Reserve Bank Governor Dalitso Kabambe.
Mwanamvekha, through his lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale, on Wednesday asked the court to order the State to amend the charge sheet so that it indicates the exact dates on which he instructed officers at the Reserve Bank of Malawi to send cooked-up figures to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Mwanamvekha also asked the State to provide the specific names of the RBM officers who he instructed to send the wrong information to the Bretton Woods institution.
According to the charge sheet that has been in use, the Mwanamvekha and Kabambe are being accused of having “counselled some officers” in the Financial Markets Department of RBM to falsify Gross Liability and Net Reserve Base returns.
It is suspected that the falsification was done to fraudulently make the IMF believe that Malawi was meeting conditions connected to the $108 million Extended Credit Facility.
The lawyer for Mwanamveka, Kalekeni Kaphale prayed to the court to order the amendment arguing names and specific dates in 2019 were key for his client to undergo a fair trial.
“It is a very important application because honourable Mwanamveka has not always been the minister of finance.
“He only became the minister of finance in 2019 at the halfway point of the year, yet the indications appear to be that the figures to IMF may have been supplied a little earlier before his time of office,” Kaphale told reporters.
He indicated that Kabambe and another suspect in the case, the former deputy RBM governor Henry Mathanga were also beneficiaries of the ruling since it gave them time to prepare for trial.
In her ruling, the magistrate stated that the law allows that the charge sheet can be amended before the trial commences as such, she ordered the state to give names of the officers who were influenced and the dates they were influenced.
The defence has since indicated that it would also ask the Director of Prosecutions to release travel documents so that he travels abroad for business and return them upon his return, if that fails, the application would be submitted to the courts.
Mwanamveka and Kabambe were arrested in December last year, but they have been on bail.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.