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Suspects want discharge in K46 billion Auction Holdings Limited case

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Steven Kayuni

Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) former chief executive officer Evans Matabwa and three others who were arrested after being implicated in the loss of K46 billion at the company want their case discharged after the State failed to take them to court.

The suspects were arrested 10 months ago.

The court’s itinerary shows that it has set July 27 2022 for hearing of summons of the discharge of the case.

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However, Director of Public Prosecutions Steven Kayuni has said the State will challenge the application.

“We have been tying loose ends on the matter and, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, we are at the end of it. Disclosures will be done shortly and the honourable court will set down the matter for trial,” he said.

Kayuni said the application that the accused be discharged may not even be heard as they expect to serve them with the disclosures this week.

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“They are asking the court to discharge them because we have not served them with the disclosures but we may give them the documents this week and we will just be asking the court for a date,” he said.

The four were arrested in September last year following a story which our sister paper, Malawi News, carried in May, reporting that a forensic audit at AHL exposed the loss of K46 billion by the Malawi Leaf Company as managers allegedly conspired to siphon the funds.

According to the audit report, the unprecedented loss was due to a conspiracy by management and private companies to siphon money out of the company using hidden identities of customers buying tobacco outside Malawi.

The report says the suspects could retrieve back the money through commissions paid by the said hidden companies that were allegedly being paid to general manager Jimmy Kasamale and financial controller Francis Madona, among other people.

The audit report said Kasamale reported to the board that Malawi Leaf Company, a subsidiary company wholly owned by Auction Holdings Group, was to make a loss of $40.18 million for the year 2017, which made the board suspicious and asked for an audit.

The audit report later revealed suspicious activities involving the sale of tobacco to two companies that allegedly profited from the deal from 2014 to 2017.

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