Kalonga, who is the first prosecution witness in the case in which Mphwiyo and 18 others are answering MK2.4 billion on public looting crusade related-cases told the High Court in the capital Lilongwe on Monday that the former finance director is the one who introduced him (Kalonga) into the cashgate galore.
The convicted Kalonga said Mphwiyo told him that most governments ministries and departments were active in raising funds for the then governing Peoples Party (PP ) in readiness for 2014 tripartite elections advising Kalonga that if he wanted to do better in life then he should be part of the plunder.
Kalonga testified in the court that he knew some of the accused persons personally as friends before the cashgate issue while others he came to know them due to the cashgate scheme.
The former Tourism ministry assistant director Kalonga told the court how Mphwiyo gave him instructions to write cheques for extra funding outside their votes and how he recruited some contractors to be used to cash the cheques on trust that they get 10 percent share from the money cashed.
According to Kalonga after he got home he called a number and a gentleman agreed with him to meet the same week Saturday at Total filling station along Ufulu Gardens lodge behind the Petroda filing station which was opposite Area 30 police at 9am.
Kalonga added that it was at this meeting that he realized that the said top official was one Paul Mphwiyo even before the introduction after he saw the car it was coming which was latest SUV/ USV Mercedes Benz which in that year it was first of its kind in Lilongwe and as a car dealer he used to admire the car every time he saw it on the road hence he knew it was for Mphwiyo.
The convict Kalonga added that it was at that meeting that Mphwiyo told him that he would link him to the people that matter in government.
“While working with the ministry of tourism, I had a friend who I had known for some time after we developed a friendship as he had bought me few cars from my business; his name was Mr. Makina who was working at the accountant general office,” testified Kalonga.
“In April 2013, he was in diplomatic posting going to Harare , as a friend I escorted him to the airport and while chatting there, I kept envying him for the lucky as everyone in those days envy to work in diplomatic mission. It was through this chat that he said he can introduce me to the people who matter in government for me to excel in my career as well as cherish the dreams of being posted to diplomatic mission,” he said.
Kalonga continued: “I remember he made a call to this top official whilst I was there unfortunately he didnt pick the call but he just sent a text message telling me he will call me but in case he doesn’t, he gave me his number without a name, the number is in one of my phone in custody of ACB (Anti Corruptionists Bureau) but I can recall it had more”, Kalonga narated.
Kalonga further said that Mphwiyo asked him to corporate and fund Peoples Party which was in government using ministry money and that he will help to incorporate one influential person like chief accountant from his office.
” I was excited, the following Monday I talked to our ministry Chief Accountant George Banda (cash gate suspect too) of the issue and he said he ever heard of it in grapevine but wasn’t sure if indeed that works to fund a political party in government without being caught,” Kalonga narrated.
“We were all excited looking at the rewards like promotion, being sent to diplomatic posting and monetary rewards especially like me been working as assistant director in the ministry of tourism for ten years without any promotion so too was my colleague GN Banda hence we agreed to give it a try”, Kalonga told the court.
According to Director of Prosecutions Marry Kachare, Kalonga testimony will continue this week at Civic offices chamber in the capital Lilongwe where all cashgate related cases are held.
The former finance director Mphwiyos shooting escalated cashgate resulting into discovery that up to US $30 million was swindled from the government payment system, where politicians and businessmen connived with civil servants for payments for goods and services that were not rendered to government.
Thereafter, Mphwiyos shooting; millions of cash in Malawi kwacha, US dollars and South African Rands started tumbling up in questionable places including car trunks, baby dolls, under beds or in pillow cases.