Fo r m e r M a l a w i B r o a d c a s t i n g Corporation (MBC) director general Benson Tembo yesterday took to the witness stand to testify in a K2.4 billion Cashgate case involving former Malawi Defence Force Commander General Henry Odillo (Retired) and three others.
Tembo was paraded as prosecution witness number 24 in the case which involves Odillo, his former deputy Clement Kafuwa, former accountant general David Kandoje and Ganizani Kuchombo. The four are accused of allegedly making fraudulent payments to a South Africa-based company Thuso Technologies.
In his testimony, Tembo narrated how MBC conducted transactions with the South African firm to improve services and increase the popularity of the local broadcaster in pursuit of delivering its mandate.
He said: “In 2012, my job was to ensure that we are providing services under the mandate of MBC. One of the areas was that TV [MBC TV] should have interesting and palatable content…
“We went on the market to look for the content that we needed. Such programmes were Generations, Isidingo and wrestling, among others, to make the TV interesting.”
Tembo s a id MBC i d e n t i f i e d T h u s o Technologies as the content provider which gave the local broadcasts rights. He said the cost later appeared expensive and the initiative did not yield the desired results; hence, the contract was terminated.
He said the contract between Thuso and MBC was pegged at K84 million annually and that it was not part of the K2.4 billion MDF paid to procure military equipment through the same supplier.
In an interview yesterday, Anti-Corruption Bureau senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala said the State expected to conclude the case by Friday.
However, presiding judge Redson Kapindu adjourned the matter to a later date to enable one of the accused persons, Kandoje, identify a lawyer because the practising licence for his current lawyer expired.
Cashgate cases date back to 2013 when revelations of plunder of resources at Capital Hill were exposed. A forensic audit later traced such abuse of public funds to 2009 and pegged the unaccounted for funds between 2009 and December 2014