News / Africa

Malawi 'Cashgate' Trials Begin

FILE - Malawi’s former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara gets out of a police vehicle upon his arrival at the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court, on Nov.  11, 2013.
FILE - Malawi’s former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara gets out of a police vehicle upon his arrival at the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court, on Nov. 11, 2013.
Lameck Masina
— In Malawi, the trials of more than 60 suspects arrested in connection with the theft of more than $250 million in public funds have begun in the capital, Lilongwe.  The corruption scandal is collectively known as "Cashgate".
 
First to appear in the Lilongwe High Court were businesspersons Caroline Savala and Agnes Katengeza and a civil servant, Leonard Kalonga.
 
Savala and Katengeza have been charged with theft and money laundering for receiving payment from the government through their construction company - for services they did not provide. 
 
Kalonga is accused of defrauding the government by procuring six buses with a total value of about $1.3 million, without official approval.
 
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges in their initial appearances in court last year.
 
The High Court has so far adjourned hearing of the cases for various reasons.  The presiding judge  adjourned the case against Savala to give her new lawyer time to study the case following the arrest of her previous lawyer, former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara, who is facing his own corruption charges.
 
Justice Esmie Chombo adjourned the cases involving Kalonga and Katengeza due to what their lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa calls “other technical hitches.”
 
“There were a number of objections that were raised.  One of them is that they were not served with disclosures, the other one was that Kalonga was not committed to the high court.  I think the state is overwhelmed with all these cases, so there are those technical hitches,” Khonyongwa said.
 
The court has also discontinued the case against a businessman accused of theft, Gordon Hamdan, because of lack of evidence.
 
Police uncovered the corruption scandal in September while investigating the shooting of then- budget director Paul Mphwiyo, for what is believed to be his attempt to curb corruption in government.
 
Besides the arrests, the government has so far frozen 33 bank accounts and seized property suspected to have been acquired using the stolen money.
 
The High Court has not yet announced the date when it will proceed with the adjourned cases.
 
However, other cases involving former Justice Minister Kasambara and a suspended official from the ruling People’s Party’s, Oswald Lutepo, are expected to commence February 5.
 
Kasambara is accused of attempting to assassinate Mphwiyo, while Lupeto is accused of money laundering.
 
Meanwhile, Malawi donors are withholding their aid pending the progress of the investigations into the scandal.
 
However the International Monetary Fund recently resolved to disburse about $20 million it suspended last October.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid