More Cashgate arrests imminent
The State has said following revelations made by Leonard Kalonga on people involved in looting of public coffers, more arrests will be made.
Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale said this after Kalonga pleaded guilty and was convicted of the offences of money laundering involving close to K3.7 billion, on Wednesday.
“Law enforcement agencies will have to arrest new names that are coming up. I’m sure you have heard there are others but so far in his [Kalonga’s] statement of those we did not otherwise know, we have seen about two names ….The ACB [Anti-Corruption Bureau] will take that up,” Kachale said.
Kachalealso said that companies Kalonga mentioned in court on Wednesday are already answering Cashgate charges. She said the State has special interest in the role some groups of civil servants played in the scam.
“For us as the State, we are interested in knowing the Accountant General, Treasury and Financial Intelligence Unit people because they are the ones who are entrusted in guarding the money that should public money, yet they are the ones behind this.
“Yes, the politicians are there. But the people trusted with the money to be the ones behind this is really grave injustice to Malawians,” she said.
Apart from the plea of guilty and eventual conviction, Kalonga implicated former president Joyce Banda, former Accountant General, David Kandoje, an
official from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Fumbani Mhango, and many officials at Treasury.
According to the narration of the facts of the case by Kachale, the money was being channelled to political campaign of the former ruling People’s Party (PP).
Meanwhile, the ACB was yesterday forced to alter charges of one of Kalonga’s co-accused Angella Katengeza.
ACB Deputy Director Reyneck Matemba made the application in the High Court in Lilongwe, saying since Kalonga was being charged with Katengeza on money laundering count, out of the three that he pleaded guilty to and was convicted on, it was necessary to make the changes.
“Now according to the law, Section 131 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code you cannot be convicted, tried or charged for the same offence for which you were either convicted or acquitted, it’s like double jeopardy, it’s unconstitutional,” argued Matemba.
He said since Kalonga also said in his plea that one of the contractors he dealt with and gave cheques amounting to K105 million is Katengeza, he fell off as one of the accused because he has already been convicted.
Katengeza is answering charges of money laundering through her Faith Construction Company and in one of her earlier court appearances she sought an explanation from her co-accused Kalonga to explain why he hired a lawyer to bail her out of police custody and change the police statement she had made.
Kalonga who is on interdiction on his position as Assistant Director in the Ministry Tourism, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud government, facilitating money laundering and money laundering. The offences were committed in 2013.
Some charges relate to conniving with 17 contractors to defraud government of K3.2 billion while some involve purchase of six buses worth K520 million from Automotive Products Limited.
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