The High Court in Lilongwe has ruled against an objection in a case of theft and money laundering involving K338 million in which lawyers for an accused person, Godfrey Dzanjalimodzi, wanted the court to merge the two counts.
Judge Ivy Kamanga said the two counts of theft and money laundering were different and could not be compared as lawyer for the defence, Chris Tukula, had argued.
In his submission in objecting to the charges against Dzanjalimodzi, Tukula said his client was being charged with theft of K338 million, which was also appearing on the same charge of money laundering.
He said the two charges were tantamount to charging Dzanjalimodzi twice for the same offence which was irregular.
The defence also objected to the introduction of a second person on the charge sheet, a Mr Chilembwe, who is alleged to have connived with Dzanjalimodzi in the theft, but the defence were not aware of this information before yesterday morning.
But lawyer for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Kamdoni Nyasulu said it was incorrect to say the charges were similar because they were based on the same facts, theft of K338 million, because the offence of theft took place and finished while money laundering took place when the money was then used to acquire property.
He said due to the nature of cases, there was a need to distinguish them from those of theft to receiving property, especially when it was the same person involved because receiving property would be part and parcel of theft.
Nyasulu also denied that an additional accused was added to the charge sheet, saying the individual was mentioned because the crime was committed as a ‘joint enterprise’.
The judge concurred with the State that she saw no duplicity in the two counts of theft and money laundering.
However, she asked the two sides to agree on the new introduction to the case before the case comes for plea taking on March 20.
Meanwhile, High Court Judge Fiona Mwale is today expected to make a ruling on a similar objection in which businesswoman Caroline Savala is accused of theft and money laundering an amount totalling K49 million.