Judge Charles Mkandawire of the High Court in Lilongwe has granted bail to one of the MK201 million Cashgate convicts, Tapiwa Ng’oma, while waiting her sentencing, on the grounds that she is heavily pregnant and cannot stand degrading and inhumane conditions at prison.
Ng’oma and 10 others were convicted last after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud government, money laundering and theft of the K201 million which happened in 2011.
Her lawyer Innocent Kalua asked for court to release her on bail until sentencing.
Kalua in a sworn statement said Ng’ona is “eight months pregnant and is due to give birth next month.”
The lawyer said the convict has lately been experiencing difficulties in “breathing and swollen legs as a result of which she has had to seek frequent medical attention.”
Ng’ona faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment for the offence of money laundering while for conspiracy to commit a felony she faces a maximum seven-year-jail term and for the theft she could earn a maximum five-year prison sentence.
The other convicted persons are: Chikondi Chimutu, Deusdedit Tenthani, Tendai Nayeja, Conrad Nambala, Squire Chakwana, Wides Machika Mbuliro and Emmanuel Yesaya.
The court found that married couple and business partners Cornelius and Yvonne Kaphantengo used their company Nova Technology and General Dealing Ltd to siphon money from the Ministry of Disability which was distributed to 9 civil servants from the ministry and Accountant General Department.
One person, Audney Kamtengeni was acquitted for lack of concrete evidence.
The case could be deemed as the genesis of Cashgate as the civil servants took advantage of weaknesses in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) to steal and launder millions.
The court us due to sentence the 10 people on a date set after the 14 days period for presenting submission elapses.