Former Accountant General (AG) David Kandoje yesterday told the High Court in Lilongwe that he signed two cheques amounting to K15 million (US$35 885) and K9 million (US$21 531) which were payable to former accounts assistant Maxwell Namata and businessperson Luke Kasamba who are answering charges of theft and money laundering.
The court summoned Kandoje, who was AG when K24 million (US$57 416) which Namata and Kasamba are accused of stealing went missing.
When presented with the two cheques, Kandoje recognised his signature on both cheques, but could not identify two other signatures.
Responding to questions from judge Annabel Mtalimanja, Kandoje said he could not tell what payment the cheques were for without supporting documents neither could he know who collected them from the AG’s office because he was not responsible for the register.
In cross-examination, State prosecutor Henry Chibwana asked Kandoje the process it takes for a cheque to be issued and signed by him, to which Kandoje said only accounts personnel with user rights in the ministries could access the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) to authorise allocations.
“No payment can be made through Ifmis unless there are funds in the vote. If the cheque goes through when there are no funds, it means the controls have been bypassed. If the payment did not originate from the ministry, it means the process was bypassed and they must have hit Account Number One,” Kandoje said.
But his response invited the wrath of Namata’s lawyer, Ralph Kasambara, who queried how he knew that the system was bypassed, to which Kandoje said he could not tell.
When pressed to explain his role, Kandoje said there was no complaint that cheques were issued with no supporting documentation but he went ahead to sign, which according to Kasambara, meant there was proper documentation.
Kasamba’s lawyer, Gift Nankhuni also asked Kandoje if he was aware that funds from the Ministry of Tourism vote went missing as the State alleged his client had stolen and laundered, to which he said he was not aware.
Meanwhile, the prosecution has closed its case and the two sides are expected to make submissions to the court within 21 days in support or against whether Namata and Kasamba have a case to answer.