State, defence tussle in K201 million Cashgate case
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director-designate, Reyneck Matemba, on Thursday grilled defendants in a case where 12 individuals are accused of stealing K201 million from the then Ministry of the Elderly and Disability Affairs.
So far, seven of the suspects have already presented their defence before Judge Charles Mkandawire sitting at the Lilongwe High Court.
One of the suspects in the case, Emmanuel Yesaya, an interdicted civil servant, argued that the money that he is alleged to have conspired with others to steal was in fact payment for his uncle from another suspect, Conrad Nambala.
His uncle apparently left for South Africa in 2013 and has not returned ever since.
Yesaya said his uncle was involved in foreign payments facilitation apart from lending out money with an interest and that it was the latter business where Nambala got caught up in.
In cross-examination, Matemba wondered why Yesaya could not convince his uncle to come back and testify so as to exonerate him.
“Your defence is that you never stole any government money. The money was payment that Mr Nambala was making to your account for your uncle. You were arrested in 2013 and by that time, your uncle had not yet left for South Africa.
“…Why couldn’t you call your uncle all this time so that he can help you out of this predicament? Since you are saying the money was not necessarily yours, the conclusion therefore should be it should have been your uncle who should have been arrested.”
In defence, Yesaya argued that his uncle has issues with the immigration such that once he comes back, he will not be allowed to go back to South Africa.
For a larger part of last Thursday, Matemba cross-examined the defendants whose explanations indicated that money had indeed exchanged hands among themselves but that it was private business.
One suspect, whose salary at the time of her arrest was below K50, 000, claimed that her involvement was that she was facilitating acquisition of forex for another from the black market and that she would sometimes be given K100, 000 or K200, 000.
The defendants are accused of conspiring to steal government money through Nova Tech, a company registered under the names of the first and second accused, Cornelius Kaphamtengo and his wife Yvonne.
According to the ACB, the money was stolen and shared among the accused through cheques issued by Kaphamtengo.
The case has since been adjourned to December 21st.
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