The Director of Public Prosecutions has requested further documentation from Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) in the case against former director general Godfrey Itaye and two others.
In its communication, dated April 9 2021, which Weekend Nation has seen, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) requested Macra acting director general to surrender a list of 15 documents that show the alleged financial transactions between Macra and Mapeto DWS.
“You may wish to know that in the course of prosecuting the matter, it has come to the attention of the prosecutors that there is need for your office to surrender original documents which are believed to be in your custody, which documents are the basis of the said criminal allegations against the three accused persons,” reads part of the letter signed by senior assistant chief State advocate Dzikondianthu Malunda.
The DPP’s office was further expected to depose nine more Macra employees who could be paraded as witnesses against the three accused persons.
Itaye—alongside ex-Macra director of finance Ben Chitsonga and former procurement specialist Joseph Ngalawa—are accused of fraud and abuse of office for allegedly authorising payment of K8.5 million to Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons (DWS) Limited for the purchase of party cloth for the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) prior to the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
The matter is being heard at the Blantyre Magistrate’s Court, where Itaye and his two colleagues pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against them.
Hearing of the matter continued from May 13 2021 before chief resident magistrate Godfrey Balaka.
It was adjourned last month after lawyers for the accused raised an objection on some documents tendered by the fourth State witness Martin Mpata, who is also Mapeto DWS general manager, arguing they were not original.
Mpata tendered photocopied documents showing Macra’s alleged purchase of DPP regalia from Mapeto DWS, but the defence argued that only original copies were supposed to be presented in accordance with the law.
However, while the accused are alleged to have authorised payment of K8.5 million to Mapeto DWS, one document the State is demanding indicates Macra paid the textile company a total amount of K25 907 378. 03 and was issued with a receipt number 10472 on August 16, 2019.
When contacted by Weekend Nation to give an explanation on the amounts, Malunda, who is the lead prosecutor in the case, asked for more time.
According to the communication, the nine Macra employees to be deposed and paraded as witnesses in court were already on the list of potential witnesses to be interviewed by police officers investigating the matter, but did not undergo the exercise, thus, leaving an “obvious and clear gap in the evidence of the State.”
Itaye was arrested on September 1 2020; days after police also picked his co-accused Chisonga and Ngalawa.