Tension ensued in court yesterday as defence lawyer Christopher Masanje expressed reservations with the attitude of State witness Loveness Jana in the K1 billion NBS Bank plc fraud case.
From the onset of the cross-examination, the lawyer complained to presiding High Court of Malawi Judge Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga that he was not comfortable with the witness’ attitude when answering questions.
This was after Masanje, in his preamble to the cross-examination, asked Jana, who is an investigator in the Fiscal and Fraud Section of Malawi Police Service, to tell the court her experience as an investigator, as well as her highest qualification.
Jana, who was the State’s sixth witness, declined in a harsh tone to disclose to the court her experience. She said the detail sought by Masanje was irrelevant to the cross-examination and the case in general.
In the case, former NBS Bank accounts officer Goodson Kapalamula, the bank’s former operations manager Victor Banda and Blantyre-based businessperson Dickson Kachingwe are accused of defrauding the listed bank.
The lawyer and Jana frequently clashed on why the investigation on Kachingwe’s property only focused on the period from 2013 and beyond.
Masanje argued that his client’s property might have been acquired legally and that it did not fall from heaven.
But in her response, Jana told the court that when conducting an investigation pertaining to fraud and money laundering, property amassed during the period of the alleged offence is cinvestigated and confiscated.
Jana told the court that in such regard, police were compelled to seize two trucks and a piece of land bought after 2013 as it is suspected that money defrauded from the bank was used to purchase the property
The offence is alleged to have been committed between 2013 and 2016.
While agreeing with Masanje that she did not produce manipulated reconciliation reports to the court as part of evidence in her capacity as an investigator, Jana said NBS Bank head of risk Harold Phiri, who was one of the State witnesses, already testified to that effect.
Jana also told the court she was only investigating documents given to her by Phiri and that she did not go into the bank’s system to do the investigation.
During re-examination by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steve Kayuni, Jana further told the court that during her investigations, she was looking at numerous offences including conspiracy to defraud, passing valueless cheques, fraudulent false accounting, obtaining money by false pretence and money laundering.
After the cross-examination, NyaKaunda Kamanga adjourned the matter to Friday when the State would parade its final witness.
It is alleged that Kachingwe obtained a same-day value facility fraudulently which allowed the businessperson to cash cheques from bank accounts he held with other commercial banks, but had no funds in them.