The State has removed Cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga from the K105.9 million money laundering case he was co-charged with businessperson Angella Katengeza on grounds of his conviction on his own plea on Wednesday.
However, Katengeza has maintained her not-guilty plea.
Kalonga, a former assistant director of tourism at Ministry of Tourism, faced conspirancy to defrauding government, facilitating money laundering and money laundering charges.
When the court reconvened in Lilongwe on Thursday, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director general Reyneck Matemba told High Court judge Fiona Mwale that it would be double jeopardy for the State to continue pursuing the initial charges against Kalonga’s conviction.
He said: “According to the law, it is unconstitutional to proceed charging any person on an offence he has already been convicted of. In this case, it is the same offence he was being jointly charged with Katengeza. That is why we had to file a new amendment.”
Kalonga is yet to be sentenced.
In his affidavit, Kalonga told the court on Wednesday that he recruited Katengeza’s company, Faith Construction, among others, to share the proceeds of fraud.
He said Faith Construction later recruited Mchemani Construction as per instructions from then Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Reads in part Kalonga’s affidavit: “I was recruiting as per the scheme and the companies knew that they were just being used to have cheques cashed. They were aware that most of the money was meant to go to the ruling party [People’s Party-PP].”
Defence lawyer, Gilbert Khonyongwa, has since asked the court for some time to study Kalonga’s affidavit.
Despite Katengeza admitting in her earlier court appearances that she received some money from the company account and that Kalonga shared with her some of it to buy fuel and renew driver’s licence, Khonyongwa said Kalonga was not honest with her.
On Wednesday, the High Court in Lilongwe convicted Kalonga on his own plea of guilty for stealing K3.7 billion.
Kalonga, who was also linked to the procurement of five 65-seater Scania Marcopolo buses allegedly on behalf of the ministry, also named former president Joyce Banda and Mphwiyo as people he worked with in the scheme.
Kalonga was first arrested on October 17 2013 by ACB for allegedly conniving with different people to defraud government. He was charged with money laundering and theft by public servant.
Mphwiyo’s shooting outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013 is widely believed to have exposed the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill in what was later named Cashgate.
Forensic auditors from British audit firm, Baker Tilly, established that under the administration of Joyce Banda, about K24 billion was looted at Capital Hill between April and September 2013 through inflated invoices and payments for goods and services not provided to government.
Earlier this year, a financial analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 2014 owing to abuse of the central payment system, Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis).