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Witness ducks implication in Mphwiyo’s K2.4 billion case

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The sixth state witness in the K2.4 Cashgate case involving former budget director Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others, Phillip Majiga, has said he has no evidence against Mphwiyo but the 2013 over-expenditure in Ministry of Tourism gives an indication that there was theft happening.

Majiga, the then and still Budget Officer in the Ministry of Finance, told one of Mphwiyo’s lawyers, Titus Mvalo, during cross-examination that he was testifying because of abnormal expenditure figures extracted from Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis).

The report that Maj iga personally extracted from Ifmis in September 2013 and is part of evidence in the case shows that the then Ministry of Tourism spent over K5.5 billion in between July and first days of September 2013.

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The expenditure is way up compared with the Treasury’s approved funding of about K1.3 billion for the period in question.

When Mvalo put it to him that the first witness in the case Leonard Kalonga told the court that there was a racket in which the then new budget director, Mphwiyo, said funding could be done without some procedures, Majiga said it was very difficult to respond to what Kalonga said.

He said Kalonga may have said that out of ‘their business’ but not the normal funding system.

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Another lawyer Henry Kadzakumanja asked Majiga if budget vote for Ministry of Tourism was the only vote that had abnormal figures, he insisted the figures surprised him.

“There must be something that I don’t know but I came to court to explain that I saw over-expenditure in the Ministry of Tourism which I could not understand,” Majiga told the court.

In re-examination, the Director of Public Prosecutions Mary Kachale asked the witness why the figures were surprising and Majiga said the officers in the funding section were oriented that it is not possible for an institution to spend more than approved funding.

“These are abnormal expenditures because they are not supported by funding from Treasury,” he responded.

The state is expected to parade the seventh witness on Thursday.

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