The High Court in Lilongwe Tuesday ordered the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) to bring to court a document, which it collected during the arrest of Cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga in 2013.
Judge Fiona Mwale made the ruling following an application by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale. She said she wanted a document detailing how money was shared to some contractors.
“I grant this order under very strict conditions. The ACB must produce, within 72 hours, before this court documents that were in a blue bag collected during Kalonga’s arrest,” Mwale said.
She said the ACB should, within 72 hours, file an affidavit by officers involved in handling documents collected during investigations, Property Control Officer and Officer in Charge (Operations). The judge said the affidavit should explain the document in question.
She said if the ACB does have the documents, the two officers should be cross-examined.
“If this order is not respected, the ACB will be in contempt of court,” Mwale said, before adjourning the matter to June 20, 2016.
Before granting the order, Mwale said the application appeared to be odd.
“This application seems a little odd. One state agent asks another to produce a document,” she said.
The issue of the document was first brought to court by Kachale in March this year. She said the document in question details how money amounting to K4.39 billion was distributed among 17 contractors.
Kalonga, was convicted in August last year, after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud government, facilitating money laundering and money laundering. The amount of money involved was K3.7 billion.
Ten months since his conviction, he is yet to be sentenced. One of the mitigating factors for his sentence is that he cooperated with the state in the case.
When making the application, the DPP said she needed to know the documents taken from Kalonga. The defence has argued that provision of the documents showed that he cooperated.
At some stages, judge Mwale urged the DPP to stick to issues relevant to the case.
“I’m getting worried. This is going beyond the relevance of this case,” Mwale said.
But Kachale responded: “We need to appraise ourselves with the information which was already in the hands of the state which for some reasons was not passed on to us. We just need copies.”
Kalonga’s lawyer, Manuel Theu supported the application.
“We support the application. We believe that if the information is provided anxieties and difficulties on the issue of cooperation will be resolved,” Theu said.
The DPP has been prosecuting the matter together with the ACB. They have been coming to the court but no ACB official was present yesterday. When asked about the whereabouts of ACB officials, Kachale said the Bureau’s Deputy Director, Reyneck Matemba, who normally comes to court, was attending other official duties at Parliament Building.
“Both of us may not be always available in court. In the [Oswald] Lutepo case, you may remember that when it came for sentencing, I was not there. The reason we have two senior people is that our offices are of such a nature that one of us may be required to be at the court. Mr Matemba is at Parliament today defending ACB budget. We agreed that I will be the one coming,” Kachale said.
In a separate interview, Matemba said they will provide documents they have.
“We will wait for the court order. But I should say that we will provide documents that are available. We will inform the court the documents we don’t have,” Matemba said.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues