The Magistrate Court Lilongwe Registry, has granted bail to four former employees of Malawi Leaf Company at Kanengo in Lilongwe, a subsidiary of Auction Holdings Limited [AHL] suspected to have conspired and stole over MK20 billion from the company between 2012 and 2017. The four include; former General Manager for Malawi Leaf Company, Jimmy Kasamale, former Financial Controller, Francis Madona, former Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of Auction Holdings Limited, Dr. Evans Matabwa and owner of Master Freight Shipping Company and Global Tobacco Company, Arthur Madikhula.
Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa has however ordered the four to remain in custody until Monday next week where their sureties will be examined by the court. Chirwa ordered the four among the bail conditions that each one of them must produce cash bail bond of MK5 million, two sureties each with cash bond of MK2 million, surrendering their travel documents, report to police once every fortnight and cooperate with the state during investigation processes.
The four accused persons have been charged with the offences of Theft, Forgery, and uttering of official documents, Conspiracy, Abuse of office, Fraud other than false pretenses, Negligence and Money Laundering.
Meanwhile, a source speaking on condition of anonymity but has shareholders with Auction Holdings Limited [AHL], has dismissed claims that the four accused persons conspired to have stolen over Mk20 million for Malawi Leaf Company saying the figure is too small but MK44 billion plus. The source claims that during the time of Mrs. Roca Mauwa, Chief Executive Officer for ADMARC who was the Chairperson of Auction Holdings Limited [AHL] the figure suspected to have been stolen through the establishment of a subsidiary, Malawi Leaf Company was over MK44 billion saying probing the whereabouts of these monies will be a challenge, Auction Holdings Limited [AHL] was more like a family company. …’’Dr. Evans Matabwa CEO AHL, former General Manager of ADMARC, Mrs. Eunice Kazembe and Mrs. Kuligomba [Chief Accountant] were all family members, they created positions within AHL offering themselves high perks per month so that each member of the family get a good cake leaving others with low wages because they were not part of them,’’…said the source.
The source further alleged that from the time it was discovered that over MK44 billion disappeared, Auction Holdings Limited [AHL] shareholders are not getting dividends to this day claiming that junior workers went for four months without getting salaries leading to some of the employees evicted from the houses they were renting. He said Dr. Evans Matabwa as Chief Executive Officer for AHL did not want to meet employees who were holding demonstrations at the company’s main entrance. In the entire history of the company there has never been a point in time when CEO would ignore cries of his juniors, yet him was so determined to not meet the needs of the people working for the company so much so that he instructed bricklayers to open a private door that would enable him to privately get to his office without meeting members of staff.
By Vincent Gunde