Esnart Ndovi on Monday became the fifth person to plead guilty to taking part in the plunder of public resources in 2013 when she admitted that her company was used to siphon K12.9 million ($23,035) from public coffers.
Ndovi pleaded guilty to charges of lending a business certificate for certification and money laundering, but she has since told the court she is ready to pay back the money.
Following her guilty plea, she joins businessperson-cum -politician Osward Lutepo, public servants Tressa Senzani, Leonard Kalonga and James Bandula Chirwa who have pleaded guilty to Cashgate-related charges since trials started in 2014.
Ndovi, who voiced her admissions in a quiet inaudible voice, handed over to the court a Toyota Hilux vehicle registration KA 6688 which the prosecution valued at K15 million ($26,785) at the Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS).
“I admit that I was in possession of K12.9 million from the government,” Ndovi confirmed when queried by the magistrate.
In her statement of plea which Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) prosecutor Michael Kalonga read out in court on Monday, Ndovi said she was approached by a procurement officer from Ministry of Tourism, Oddoi Kamange, to use her business registration certificate.
She said she knew Kamange as a brother in marriage whose wife stayed with her for some time and did not suspect that he wanted to use it for nefarious means.
After she received the cheque from the Accountant General, Ndovi said Kamange started calling her to come to collect the money which was deposited in the account of her business, Fusion Limited.
Ndovi told the court that she sent an assistant to cash a cheque amounting to K6 million which Kamange collected on August 19 before he returned to collect the remaining amount a few days later.
She told the court that Kamange said he feared for his job if he did not deliver the “goods” to Senzani, then principal secretary, and tourism officer Kalonga even though she did not know them personally.
“Following my arrest, I have suffered personal embarrassment and I am treated as an outcast in my own family,” Ndovi said, claiming she did not benefit from the transaction.
On Kamange, Ndovi told the court that she suspected he used the money to purchase a house in Area 12 and a Toyota Landcruiser from a businessperson.
Kamange has been outside the country since June this year, but there is no indication that he is wanted by ACB.
Senior resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa has since adjourned the case to Tuesday to conclude the matter.
Ndovi’s bail was not revoked after her plea of guilty because the magistrate wanted to study the submissions. n