The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday failed to conduct a sentencing hearing of Cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga who last August pleaded guilty to theft and laundering about K3 billion.
In fact, presiding judge Fiona Mwale is yet to hear submissions from the prosecution and defence eight months after Kalonga was convicted on his own plea.
Yesterday, it was learnt that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale was occupied with another case, the ongoing Paul Mphwiyo shooting trial; hence, could not be available for the Kalonga case.
The court is also expected to conduct a Newton hearing before submissions in sentencing.
Newton hearing is held when a situation arises at mitigation stage whereby the State and defence do not agree. Under the hearing, the court can decide to arrange that the matter move forward by either a jury or to hear witnesses.
Kalonga’s lawyer, Manuel Theu, yesterday said apart from the DPP’s unavailability, the State had not applied for a production order to bring Kalonga to court during the hearing.
He said: “The case has been set for 6 June because there was a mix up on the notice for hearing. There was no production order made for Kalonga to travel from Zomba to Lilongwe for the case.”
Anti-Corruption Bureau deputy director general Reyneck Matemba, who is prosecuting the case with the DPP, confirmed that since she was not available, the State prayed for an adjournment.
The court had initially set February 29 for sentencing submissions, but the case was adjourned to March 2 when Kachale protested the inclusion of information in a document purportedly authored by Kalonga listing the beneficiaries of the loot which he took part in siphoning from government.
In his mitigation submissions, Kalonga claims that the list was submitted to ACB and he wanted to plead guilty long before, but he was not allowed to do so.
But Kachale says the document was not shared with her office.
Kalonga, a former tourism officer, was found guilty and convicted of conspiracy to defraud government using forged documents and paid the money to bogus suppliers.
Other charges included laundering of K520 million where he facilitated, abated and aided acquisition of six Scania Marcopolo semi-luxury buses on instruction from then Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo and laundering which were proceeds of serious crime between April and September 2013 with other persons to the tune of K3.2 billion.