Minister of Information Brown Mpinganjira yesterday revealed the Judiciary will move some of its High Court judges based in Blantyre and Mzuzu to Lilongwe to fast-track hearing of cashgate cases from next week.
Speaking during a press conference in Lilongwe which he addressed together with Minister of Finance Dr.Maxwell Mkwezalamba, Mpinganjira said the deployment of additional judges will ensure the courts hear at least seven cashgate cases in a week instead of two as would be the case with the current capacity of the Judiciary in the capital city.
“The Judiciary has made special arrangements to accommodate these cases. It has decided to bring in additional judges from Blantyre and Mzuzu to help hear these cases as quickly as possible. The Judiciary has also made arrangements to find more court space within and around Lilongwe City to be used for these cases.
“If they are to use the space which is available at the court premises now, the courts would only hear two cases in a week. With over 60 cases, it would take a long time to conclude the cases. They have identified additional court space at Nathenje, Lumbadzi and such other places in Lilongwe.
“We estimate that when the trials begin, not less than seven cases can be taken in a week. I am not saying that seven cases will be concluded per week because that depends on the complexity of each case and the demands of defence but we will have many cases coming in the week,” said Mpinganjira.
On reports that government has sent the preliminary cashgate forensic audit report to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) first before Malawians get to hear about it, Mpinganjira claimed only an executive summary of the audit was specifically requested by the fund for purposes of its board meeting on Wednesday next week.
“The actual results of the audit will be ready by the end of this month. This executive summary which has gone to IMF is not even for Cabinet ministers. It is only for IMF who are also doing us a favour to complete their reviews.
“There has been no preliminary forensic audit report sent to the IMF in the sense everybody is expecting because the preliminary report of the forensic audit is not yet out. What has gone to IMF doesn’t even have details that you would be interested in like the specific transactions,” said Mpinganjira.
He also said government is not withholding any information in relation to the sale of the presidential jet, reiterating the jet was sold and that President Banda is not flying the same jet.
“It is not a secret as some people would want you to believe and we will be giving out enough information on this matter. The jet was sold and that the President is not using the same jet. There are several jets that have been chartered for her by friends. I have personally seen three different jets having come closer to the jets at the airports,” said Mpinganjira.
Mkwezalamba said the IMF board was supposed to sit in October last year but postponed their meeting to this month in light of revelations of the massive looting of funds from the public purse at Capital Hill.
“The sitting of the board depends on progress we have made in dealing with this issue. When the board meets, the third and fourth quarter reviews will be completed and this will unlock resources for the government,” said Mkwezalamba.