Defense lawyers in the fraud case involving four directors from FISD have demanded the presence of a witness from African Development Bank (AfDB) to provide evidence in a case where FISD is accused of receiving double payment for the same work.
Hearing of the case started today afternoon with the State parading the first witness, Moses Mwakilama from a project implementing unit where FISD is alleged to have pocketed double payment.
For over four hours Mwakilama apart from presenting his testimony was cross-examined by the defence which punched holes on some of the claims he made.
One of the defense lawyers, Wapona Kita, objected to Mwakilama referring to documents from the AfDB saying the State should bring a witness from the bank to provide their side of the story because as far as the defense is concerned, the alleged double payment was just an error which was sorted out hence, not warranting any criminal proceedings.
Kita questioned the State why they had called it fraud when FISD clearly made a communication to the bank notifying them of the double payment with a suggestion to have the same deducted from eventual payment.
Both Mwakilama’s testimony and Kita’s cross-examination was based on a chain of communication among FISD, the project implementation unit and the bank.
In an interview after the court session Kita said from the cross-examination it has become clear to them that there is no criminal elements in this matter but the payment which has been recovered, was just an error.
“The presence of the AfDB is very crucial and that is where the case ends otherwise, what all these witnesses are saying is hearsay. The documents are coming from AfDB so is the payment otherwise without AfDB then the case is based on hearsay” said Kita.
Senior State advocate Pirirani Masanjala said bringing the AfDB into the case may be difficult but they will look at the law and decide what should happen next.
“The witness for AfDB has to come from Abijan, Cote D’ivoire and that maybe a bit difficult. We will see what we can do and see the way out when the matter comes especially after tomorrow. We will make a decision. We intend to parade one more witness because we have taken almost five hours on one witness so we will parade one tomorrow” said Masanjala in an interview.
Masanjala has also asked the court to allow them amend the charge sheet to include FISD as an organisation as part of the accused because it is the firm that received the payment.