The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey has raised her compensation claim from government from K12 billion to K70 billion.
Jeffrey filed the claim following her acquittal in the K187 million Ministry of Education scam during the Bakili Muluzi administration between 1994 and 2004.
The outspoken DPP secretary general and about 50 others were implicated in the scandal exposed through an audit report of March 2000.
The report alleged that Jeffrey’s business connived with some officers from the divisional education office in Kasungu to defraud millions of public funds.
However, the court later acquitted Jeffrey and together with three others she took government to court following the actions and decisions made by the ACB and the National Audit Office (NAO).
According to a statement of claim filed with the High Court in Lilongwe in December 2016, among others, Jeffrey lost an estimated K14 275 971.12 following government’s order to stop payment of a cheque and balance for completed work at Msalura Community Day Secondary School.
In total, they demanded K12 135 984 477plus action fees.
But briefing journalists in Blantyre yesterday, newly confirmed ACB director Reyneck Matemba said the K12 billion was the claimants’ actual value after assessments of the trucks destroyed while in the custody of law enforcement agencies.
He said: “Apart from that K12 billion the other monies are figures that you would normally claim, but the court would have to do its own assessment if you win a case and the registrar will have to assess.”
Matemba said there was no accurate figure, but about K58 billion is for claims related to loss of business, defamation, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, among other claims.
“So, in total when we add all angles of her claim we are talking of in excess of about K70 billion that she is claiming from government,” he said.
The case is scheduled for January 30 2018 at the High Court in Lilongwe for continuation of trial and the ACB, which is defending the matter on behalf of government, is expected to cross examine a number of witnesses that testified for the plaintiff.
Meanwhile, the head of the graft-busting body has said the bureau is acting on the matter independently without any political pressure.
He said: “Normally, cases to do with politicians people would want to believe that there is some sort of political pressure at play but I can assure you there is no political pressure in relation to this case. We are acting independently and we will continue defending the case independently.”
Out of the 55 people who were implicated in the scam, only four— including former Ministry of Education principal secretary Sam Safuli—were convicted and jailed, although two of the convictions were later set aside by the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.
Safuli was sentenced to two years imprisonment for aiding and abetting theft of K100 000.
The rest of the suspects, including civil servants and several contractors, had their cases dropped or were acquitted due to lack of sufficient evidence.