Lilongwe chief resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa has allowed the State to proceed to amend the charge sheet in a fraud and money laundering case involving former employees of Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera).
The State represented by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)on Monday applied for the amendment on the basis that the money involved in the case against former Mera chief executive officer Collins Magalasi, public relations officer Patrick Maulidi, procurement officer Bright Mbewe and businessperson Dorothy Shonga Nkhoma, exceeded the K107million initially indicated on the charge sheet.
Speaking in an interview after making the application, DPP Steve Kayuni said the figure was adjusted upwards from to K186 million.
He said the evidence provided by witnesses showed that the money involved was more than K107 million.
Kayuni said: “From the evidence of 11 witnesses that have been paraded, the evidence is coming out clearly that the figure is more than what was on the charge sheet. The figure now is coming to K186 million.”
The DPP added that the suspects would again be required to take plea on April 19 in line with the amended charge sheet.
Kayuni said the State would also have to parade its last witness and close its case.
Magalasi’s lawyer Andy Kaonga said they needed to go through the amended charge sheet first before deciding on the next move.
According to court records, Shonga’s company, Vink Enterprises, was awarded contracts to supply Mera strategic plan booklets as well as branded cloth and T-shirts.
However, the contracts are suspected to have been dubiously awarded as it allegedly flouted procurement procedures and the contract sum was also inflated in the supplying of the cloth.
The accused persons are suspected to have induced Mera’s Internal Procurement and Disposal Committee to approve procurement of various items amounting which were earlier pegged at K 107 million from Vink Enterprises owned by Shonga Nkhoma, a business partner to Magalasi in DC Brands Company.
The four face 16 counts of fraud and money laundering in relation to contracts awarded to Vink Enterprises. They pleaded not guilty to all the charges placed against them.