‘Supplier received money in suspicious ammunition deal’
Former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Director of Finance and the first State witness in a 2013 corruption case involving former army commander, Henry Odillo, Harry Chawinga, has said R30 million and K920 million was paid to Thuso Group for ammunition deal not budgeted for.
Thuso Group was the company for another suspect in the case, George Kuchombo, former MDF accountant late Nelson Kauwa Banda, who died in the course of the case, and one Alexander Banda.
As part of the testimony, Chawinga identified two invoices from Thuso Group to MDF that are suspected to have necessitated the payments.
Chawinga, who is one of the signatories in case documents suspected to have originated from MDF, Thursday took the High Court in Lilongwe through letters and business documents that MDF, the then accountant general (AG), David Kandoje, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) and Thuso Group exchanged on the deal.
Among the letters and documents that Chawinga was given and recognised are a letter requesting externalisation of R30 million to South African-based Thuso Group from MDF to AG and a letter requesting RBM to make payment of the said money.
“It was not part of the budget estimates,” Chawinga told the court before saying the same for the K920 million.
The K920 million is said to have been deposited to Thuso Group account at Standard Bank-City Centre through two K460 million cheques that Chawinga, Odillo and a Major Chizungu signed.
But it was noted that Thuso Group sent a K920 invoice to MDF on August 23 2013 while cheques for the same are dated August 20 2013, which prompted State prosecutor, Kamudoni Nyasulu, to ask how cheques were signed before receiving the invoice.
“I wouldn’t know, probably the invoices were postdated but we didn’t observe that anomaly that time,” Chawinga responded.
Odillo, his then deputy, Clement Kafuwa, Kandoje and Kuchombo are answering money laundering charges which they all deny.
The case has been adjourned to January 30 2018, when the State will continue examining Chawinga.
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