The High Court in Lilongwe has adjourned to March 16 2016 the case in which former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo and 18 others are charged with several counts, including theft and money laundering K2.4 billion ($3.3 million).
The court’s move follows an application by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale to have the case adjourned.
The 19 accused persons would have taken plea had the case resumed on February 24, 2016 as earlier communicated.
However, a notice of adjournment dated January 29 addressed to law firms and accused persons without representation indicates that the case would resume on March 16 2016 at 9am.
“Take notice that the hearing which was scheduled to take place on 24th February, 2016 has been adjourned to the 16th day of March 2016 at 9 O’clock in the forenoon,” the notice, signed by Justice Esme Chombo, reads.
Apart from being lead prosecutor in the Mphwiyo shooting case which adjourned last Friday to resume on February 17, Kachale is also the main prosecutor in several Cashgate cases.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been handling some of the Cashgate cases while others are being handled jointly with the DPP.
In the case adjourned to March 16, Mphwiyo is facing charges alongside 18 others, including civil servants such as former Accountant General David Kandoje, Auzius Kazombo Mwale, Clemence Mmadzi and Roosevelt Ndovi, but also contractors.
Others are George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda and Maxwell Namata who are facing charges of fraud, negligence by public office, money laundering, theft by public servant, theft by servant and conspiracy to defraud government K2 446 817 450.49.
Before adding the 19th accused person, Kachale said investigations indicated that the 18 people could not have managed to breach the government financial system and siphon the K2.4 billion over a period of six months without the help of an expert in information technologies (IT) who was identified as Steve Likhunya Phiri.