One of the lawyers representing Paul Mphwiyo in the K2.4 billion Cashgate case, Shadreck Mhango, yesterday tussled with Daniel Jenya on how his client could be linked to the matter.
Jenya, a chief economist in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, told the High Court in Lilongwe that although Mphwiyo was budget director, he did not cooperate when the ministry sought information on what caused “huge expenditures” in some government ministries and departments.
He cited the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, which in spite of being allocated K307 million for the 2013/14 financial year, it spent K5.3 billion.
“At this point, we wondered why this [was] possible because Ifmis [Integrated Financial Management Information System] cannot allow someone spend more than what was budgeted for. But here we were with a ministry spending 15 times more than it was supposed to,” Jenya said.
He also disclosed that over-expenditure was noted at the Malawi Defence Force (MDF).
The chief economist said ordinarily, Mphwiyo, in his capacity as budget director then, should have been the one to raise eyebrows and, in consultation with the Accountant General (AG), commission a probe into what might have been the cause behind the over-expenditure.
He stated that the former budget director was neither forthcoming to provide information when requested on what had led to over-expenditures at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and MDF, let alone show willingness to probe the matter.
Jenya said the effects of Cashgate “have been very painful”, adding government has had to reduce provisions to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to do with available resources.
But during cross-examination, Mhango wondered whether Jenya had grudges with his former boss.
“How was the relationship between you and Mr. Mphwiyo? Can you confirm that you did not have grudges with him?” he asked.
In response, Jenya simply said: “To my perspective, it was very cordial. We worked very well. I can confirm that I don’t have any grudge against Mr. Mphwiyo”.