High Court judge Fiona Mwale on Thursday rebuked private practice lawyer David Lameck for failing to “read the law” in preparation for written submissions in the theft and money laundering case involving Caroline Savala.
Savala was convicted on theft and money laundering counts. She was accused of stealing and laundering K84.5 million (about $121 000) from the public purse.
Mwale had initially set March 15 2016 as the day she was supposed to pronounce her sentence.
However, when she returned to the court room on the set date, Savala said her lawyer Ralph Kasambara had not yet handed over the files (documents) to the stand-in lawyer thereby making it difficult to prepare mitigating factors.
She, therefore, pleaded with the court to adjourn the case to a later date to give Lameck ample time to study the case and prepare proper mitigating factors.
However, when he appeared in brief (in place of another lawyer) at the High Court in Lilongwe yesterday, Lameck asked for seven more days to allow him prepare.
But this did not amuse Mwale who stated outright: “Every time we are trying to meet, there is something that frustrates us to conclude this case.”
In another Cashgate case at the same court yesterday, judge Charles Mkandawire dismissed an application by Esnart Nenani Ndovi who had appealed against her sentence.
Ndovi was convicted for stealing K12.9 million (about $18 500) from the government coffers.
Senior resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa imposed a 30-month custodial sentence on her, which she appealed.
She filed nine factors, including age, health problems, family and spiritual obligations, in her attempt to persuade the higher court to commute her custodial sentence to a suspended one.