State in ninth Cashgate victory
The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday convicted Mkhuzo James Bandula Chirwa on three Cashgate charges involving about K513 million on his own plea of guilty.
However, his co-accused: Muzipasi Moyo, Steven Mwenitete and Denis Mhango pleaded not guilty to charges levelled against them. They will have to defend themselves in the matter.
“On your own plea of guilty, I find you guilty of the offences of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Section 323 of the Penal Code; theft contrary to Section 278 of the Penal Code and money laundering contrary to Section 35(1)(c) of the Money Laundering Act. I convict you of each offence accordingly,” presiding Judge Ivy Kamanga said.
She has since revoked Bandula Chirwa’s bail.
According a revised charge sheet dated October 1 2015, on the details of the first offence which all the four people are answering reads:
“Mkhuzo James Bandula Chirwa, Muzipasi Moyo, Steven Mwenitete and Denis Mwezi Mhango, between 1 April 2013 and 30 September 2013, in the city of Lilongwe conspired together with each other, with the late Hussein Chaphazika and with others to defraud the government of Malawi cheques drawn on the Reserve Bank of Malawi to the total of not less than K500 million, payable to their business names as bogus suppliers of goods and services to the Malawi Government,” reads the sheet.
Bandula Chirwa, who is being represented in the matter by lawyer Powell Mkhutabasa, becomes the fourth Cashgate convict on own plea of guilty. Others are Tressa Senzani, Osward Lutepo and Leonard Kalonga.
However, Bandula Chirwa becomes the ninth person to be convicted of Cashgate charges after Senzani, Victor Sithole, Lutepo, Wyson Zinyemba Soko, Maxwell Namata, Luke Kasamba, Kalonga and Caroline Savala.
Bandula Chirwa joins Savala and Kalonga on a list of those awaiting sentencing.
On what transpired in court, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale said she was not surprised with Bandula Chirwa’s plea.
“I really praise God for what has happened. I really see God in it. And then it also means that the work we have put in is good. What we wanted was that the evidence that we bring should make people confess. The confession is in their best interest. The work we are doing is yielding fruits,” Kachale said.
On his part, Mkhutabasa said the next stage is to prepare for mitigation of the sentence.
Judge Kamanga has since adjourned the matter of the other three suspects to November 17 2015 for continued hearing, while hearing of the sentencing of Bandula Chirwa will start on November 19.
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