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Police summon Mulli, others over Reserve Bank of Malawi forensic report

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Willy Kambwandira

On Friday last week, Malawi Police Service (MPS) quietly summoned business mogul Leston Mulli and four others following completion of Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) forensic audit investigations findings that are fingering them as suspects.

The RBM forensic audit investigations led to the arrest of former RBM governor Dalitso Kabambe and his deputy Henry Mathanga and several others last year.

Commenting on the arrest, National Police deputy spokesperson, Harry Namwaza, said it is an ongoing investigation.

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“It is not a new case and the case is being handled already by Fiscal Police. They were invited by Fiscal Police for them (police) to record some important information from them in regard to the case,” he said.

According to information privy to our investigation, the police docket on the matter has been submitted to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for prosecution.

DPP Steve Kayuni said his office has received the submission.

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“I can confirm the submission of a docket and as you might recall, Dr Kabambe and Mr Mathanga are answering charges on the same matter, these freshly arrested suspects complete the circle. We are set to process the prosecution in earnest,” Kayuni said.

According to Kayuni, following submission of the docket, police effected arrests on five individuals, namely: Leonard Kandoje trading as Rock BA Rock Limited for an alleged fraud of K1.860 billion, Leston Mulli trading as Mulli Brothers Limited for K2.350 billion fraud, Joseph Khupe trading as Web Commercials Limited for K1.350 billion, Felton Mulli trading as F F Trading Limited for $764,375 (K789 billion) fraud, Justin Fredson Likhunya trading as JF Investment for K152 million.

“The five have been charged with conspiracy to defraud government, money laundering and obtaining credit by false pretences,” Kayuni said.

The five suspects are alleged to have conspired with senior RBM officials to commit fraud by fraudulently obtaining letters of credit from the central bank on pretext that they will import or purchase fertiliser and never purchased the products for the farmers on behalf of SFFRFM, forcing RBM to settle their liabilities of the amounts stated.

But when contacted, Mulli refused to comment on the developments.

“I cannot comment on a matter that is in court,” Mulli said.

According to the caution statements which Malawi News has seen, the five denied the charges and chose to remain silent.

Last week, Kayuni said Malawians should expect more arrests in the fraud case involving Kabambe and others.

Kabambe, Mathanga, Rodrick Wiyo and Leah Donga— were arrested last  year and are facing charges of abuse of office, neglect of office and money laundering emanating from an RBM forensic report.

In June last year, the state indicated that Kabambe, Mathanga, Wiyo and Donga abused their authority by doing an arbitrary act; paying a compensation amounting to K4.3 billion to FDH Malawi Limited without prior approval of the board of directors of RBM, an act which resulted in RBM losing the said sum of K4.3 billion, among other charges.

Kabambe is answering another charge of misreporting with Mathanga and former Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamveka.

Meanwhile, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira has called for speedy prosecution of the matter and recovery of the funds.

“We have welcomed the arrests of individuals suspected to have been involved in the fraud at RBM, however, we hope this is not just public perception management. It is our hope that the matter will be expeditiously tried and the money will be recovered. Our only concern is that we are not satisfied with the pace at which these cases are taking,” he said.

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