Defence lawyers for contractors suspected of involvement in the K513 million Cashgate case have objected to the charge of facilitating money laundering which they claim is a duplication of the count of money laundering.
Muzipasi Moyo of Ziuya Construction, Steven Mwenitete of Sky Civil Engineering and Denis Mhango of Clive Engineering have been charged with money laundering, lending a certificate for personation and facilitating money laundering.
But their lawyer, Gilbert Khonyongwa, told the High Court in Lilongwe yesterday that charging his client with facilitating money laundering contrary to Section 35 (1) (d) of the Money Laundering Act would mean that he was directly involved in the commission of the crime which was not the case.
He said: “As to count eight which is facilitating money laundering, the State plans to use the same facts for the count of money laundering alleging that the accused persons, knowing or having reason to believe that the money from proceeds of crime, facilitated the acquisition of the money.
“How can the accused persons commission and facilitate at the same time? To allow them to answer to both of these counts could be prejudicial to their defence.”
In support, another defence lawyer, Nicely Msowoya, argued that the counts of money laundering and facilitating money laundering were referring to the same subject matter and the State was going to parade evidence containing the same facts.
Defending the charge sheet, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale said she would not object to the application because it was also helping them to interpret the money laundering law which is new.
However, presiding judge Ivy Kamanga took the defence lawyers to task for failing to come prepared with submissions citing the law to support their arguments and threatened to fine Msowoya when he asked for an adjournment to allow the defence make submissions.
The judge had earlier fined Khonyongwa K50 000 for bringing the application to the court when the defence and the State had agreed on October 14 that there would be no more preliminary issues brought for hearing yesterday. n