The State has formally charged former Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) governor Dalitso Kabambe and three others with four counts of negligence, abuse of office, money laundering and causing loss of public funds.
Kabambe (48), who is the first accused, was charged alongside former RBM deputy governor Henry Mathanga (59) as second accused, Rodrick Wiyo, 51, as third accused and Leah Donga, 43, as fourth accused person.
Their arrests followed a forensic audit report into alleged fraudulent local and foreign payments made by RBM between January 1 2019 and June 30 2020.
However, the suspects did not take their pleas because the State said the charges were subject to change after investigations.
The first and second counts relate to abuse of office and allege that Kabambe as governor, Mathanga as deputy governor for operations, Wiyo as director of financial markets operations and Donga as senior finance and market operations dealer at RBM abused authority by paying K4.3 billion without approval of the central bank’s board to FDH Bank plc.
The third count is about alleged negligence and the fourth count is about money laundering.
There was heavy police presence at the court and scores of opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters clad in the party’s colours who chanted as Kabambe arrived at court. During the court proceedings, they could also be heard singing outside the courtroom.
Lilongwe chief resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa reserved his ruling to today on whether the officials should be granted bail after lawyers for the State and defence tussled in court on the State’s application to continue holding them for a further 14-day period.
Representing the State, police prosecutor Levison Mangani asked the court to grant the State permission to keep the four suspects on remand as investigations were still ongoing.
“It’s an investigation which is likely to be complex, looking at the forensic audit report. There are many issues among which the holding charge sheet only isolates a few issues,” he said.
But all defence lawyers, led by lawyer for Kabambe, Fostino Maere, rejected the argument, saying the application by the State would infringe the rights of the accused persons. He also said the application indicated that the State was not ready for the case.
Maere also said that Kabambe and the other three had cooperated with authorities, including by handing themselves over to police. He said they cannot interfere in the investigation in any way.