The State has charged four directors of Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (Fisd) Limited with three counts in a case they are accused of defrauding Malawi Government $325 731 (about K260 million).
The directors—Moses Chirambo, Frank Mwenechanya, Kondwani Nanchukwa and Arthur Mpama—were arrested last year and face charges of money laundering, conspiracy to commit a felony and fraud.
The four appeared before Lilongwe senior resident magistrate Florence Msekandiana yesterday and were charged alongside Daudi Kaunda, an accountant in the Ministry of Agriculture, who is answering charges of forgery and conspiracy to commit a felony.
All the accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges presented by the State through National Police Headquarters prosecutor Levison Mangani and Ministry of Justice senior State advocate Pirirani Masanjala.
Particulars of the case, as presented in court, show that the four directors allegedly received the $325 731 payment from the Ministry of Agriculture despite getting a payment for the same from the African Development Bank, government’s partner in the project they were contracted to undertake.
The ministry had awarded the company a K2.4 billion contract to construct, rehabilitate and expand gravity-fed water supply systems in Ntcheu District.
The prosecution also accuse Kaunda of aiding the alleged fraud by falsifying documents.
The prosecution pins the money laundering charge on allegations that the Fisd directors converted the payment.
Lawyer Gift Nankhuni, who is representing the suspects, said in an interview that he was pleased that his clients have formally been charged months after they were arrested.
He said: “There is a date that the case will commence. On our part, we are ready and we will defend our clients accordingly.”
The case has been adjourned to July 16 this year.