The State paraded its first witness on Friday in a case in which three businesspeople are accused of externalising at least K1.3 billion (about $5.2 million) after allegedly presenting fake Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) documents to commercial banks.
Â Lawyers from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), however, asked for an adjournment of the case immediately after an official from FDH Bank had testified, saying other witnesses were not available.
The three suspects, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, are Karamat Ullah Chaudhry, Naeem Lakhu and Shiraz Fereira. But only two were in court during the hearing of the case.
The witness told the court that the documents, which bore MRA stamp and signatures, looked genuine on face value and that was why the bank went ahead to process the transaction.
During cross examination, the witness maintained that since the bank relies on face value to authenticate the documents, especially by looking at official stamps and signatures, at the time of processing the transactions, the documents were valid.
Magistrate Innocent Nebi adjourned the case to June 5 during which the State is expected to parade at least three witnesses. However, the State has indicated that it was not clear yet as to how many witnesses would testify on the prosecution side.
Immediately after the arrest last year, National Police spokesperson Chingwalu said the law enforcers acted on a tip-off that some businesspeople had opened a fake account with one of the local commercial banks to allegedly send money outside the country.