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Reserve Bank of Malawi staff testifies in K2.4 billion Paul Mphwiyo case

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Two Reserve Bank of Malawi employees Monday told the High Court in Lilongwe that when they cleared some of the cheques mentioned in the K2.4 billion Cashgate case involving former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, the cheques in question were not dubious.

Judith Masangwale, who was a bank teller in 2013 when Cashgate happened, and Mirriam Msamala, who was counter operations officer, said that their job was to technically verify government cheques using requirements such as a proper date, authorisation, the amount and the one to receive the cheque.

Masangwale said that she cleared three cheques that were meant for three accused contractors. This, she told the court, was after the bank system showed that the then accountant general, David Kandoje, his then deputy Auzius Kazombo Mwale and Clemence Madzi had duly signed them.

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She said the bank had the names of the signatories as the right signatories, specimens of their signatures were also part of the system and the cheques met all requirements.

When one of the defence lawyers, Powell Nkhutabasa, asked her on what would happen to the cheque in the instances of the government running in deficit, Masangwale said they would still clear the cheque as long as it met the requirements.

“The role was to clear the cheques for the debiting of government account and crediting commercial bank account,” Masangwale said.

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The defence lawyers quizzed Masangwale on the origins of her witness statement as she had said the RBM legal office checked the statement for standardisation purposes.

“The legal office is supposed to standardise all documents moving out of the bank and that is what the legal officers did. They just changed some words but not the meaning; nothing was included or removed,” she said.

As was the case with Masangwale, Msamala said when she too cleared one cheque in 2013 and that there was no checklist to notice that the cheques they were clearing were not part of the cheques that were meant for clearance.

Msamala said the checklist was introduced after Cashgate and that is when they started using the checklist before clearing any cheque.

She insisted the cheque she cleared that time was not dubious.

The hearing of the case continues today as the State is expected to parade the 18th witness.

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