Former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) commander Henry Odillo and others face seven counts of corruption, negligence and money laundering-related charges over alleged illegal payments amounting to close to K2 billion made to a military supplier.
In a document to be tabled in court, prosecutors claim the payments were part of the public finance theft scandal widely known as Cashgate where over K24 billion public funds were embezzled from various government ministries between April and September 2013.
According to the charge sheet filed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the prosecution centres around payments allegedly made by the military, between March and September 2013, to Alexander Banda of Thuso Group amounting to ZAR 30 000 000 (K1.4 billion) and K929 810 000.
Banda is one of the accused persons in the case and the court documents cite Odillo as the first accused, his then deputy Lieutenant General Clement Kafuwa (retired) as second accused, Thuso Group proprietor as third, Banda’s brother Nelson Kauwa Banda as fourth, and Ganizani Sionga Kuchombo and former Accountant General David Kandoje as fifth and sixth accused persons.
Former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, although not arrested in connection with the case,is alleged as one of the beneficiaries on the charge sheet.
The bureau claims that the accused conspired to defraud the State through the payments, which were allegedly re-routed to the accused persons.
Odillo and his co-accused persons were due to take plea on Friday, but the process was stopped after the defence team argued before High Court judge Redson Kapindu that the State had flouted procedures of committing the case from the lower court to the High Court for Kandoje.
Kapindu subsequently upheld the application and adjourned the whole case to a yet-to-be fixed date pending the State’s recommitment of Kandoje to the court.
Special Cashgate prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu on Friday said the State is ready with the case against five and will formally release the charges in court for plea taking.
“We will commit Mr Kandoje, we are ready to start the case, we have completed all investigations,” said Nyasulu.
The seven counts are conspiring to make illegal payments contrary to Section 23 (B); making improper payments contrary to Section 23 (2) of the Public Finance Management Act; use of public office for advantage contrary to Section 25 B (i) of the Corrupt Practices Act; influencing the use of public office for advantage contrary to Section 25B of the Corrupt Practices Act; dealing in contract contrary to Section 25 c (i) and (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act; and money laundering contrary to section 35 (i) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act and another separate money laundering account. n