Jun 23, 2018 Last Updated 2:14 PM, Jun 22, 2018
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The case involving the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker for Mzimba Hora Constituency Christopher Mzomera Ngwira has been adjourned to July 25, 2018 for ruling on whether he has a case to answer.

Ngwira who was arrested in January this year by the country’s graft-busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is alleged to have fraudulently influenced the awarding of the contract for the construction of Lukwelukwe Teacher’s House project under the Local Development Fund (LDF) and misappropriated MK650 000 meant for the project in 2010. He has denied the allegations.

The Member of Parliament appeared before the court on Wednesday for further hearing where ACB lawyers paraded three remaining witnesses that remained from the first hearing and that concluded the case on the side of ACB.

Following the closure of the case by the state, Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Kandulu asked lawyers for both sides whether they intend to make submissions before he make his ruling on whether Ngwira has a case to answer or not to which both parties expressed intent to do so.

Defense lawyer Victor Gondwe asked the court to give him 21 days to make submissions while ACB lawyers asked for 14 days after the defense had submitted their submissions.

Kandulu accepted both parties request and he indicated that he will also require 14 days from the day all the submissions will be submitted for him to write his ruling saying as such the case will be back for ruling on the 25th of next month.

Ngwira remains on bail having been granted bail the same day he was arrested by the Mzimba First Grade Magistrate George Longwe with a surety of MK50, 000.

According to the press statement ACB released soon after Ngwira was arrested in January, on the 7th September, 2010 bureau received an allegation that Christopher Mzomera Ngwira MP for Mzimba Hora Constituency presented invoices from YOGI and Mzimba Hardware on pretext that they had supplied building materials for Lukwelukwe School Project which is funded under LDF under M’mbelwa District Council.

The Anti- Corruption Bureau is said to have conducted investigations into the matter which established that Ngwira advised the Project Management Committee (PMC) members to sign blank withdrawal slips and told them not to indicate the total amount to be withdrawn and that he on his own indicated MK650, 000 on the withdraw form.

“Christopher Mzomera Ngwira is reasonably suspected to have committed an offence under Section 271 (2) (e) of the Penal Code in that he on 2nd August 2010 at NBS branch in Mzimba, converted for his own use money amounting to K650, 000 meant for Lukwelukwe Teacher’s House Project under the LDF programme,” reads part of the statement.

However, testimonies presented in court indicate that of the MK650, 000, MK520, 000 was returned by committee members who accepted before the then Director of Public works for M’mbelwa District Council Late Amon Chisimba to have wrongly withdrew the cash and promised to return it while over MK100, 000 was used to procure quarry for the project.

Further, testimonies indicate that construction materials meant to be procured with the cash in question were delivered at the project site only to be sent back by the PMC for being of low quality.

The timing of ACB to arrest Ngwira on the case which centres on events that happened eight years ago has been described by Ngwira’s supporters as a plot by the lawmaker’s political enemies who are bent on tarnishing his popularity among his constituents for the 2019 elections.

Ngwira is bidding to claim a third term as lawmaker for Mzimba Hora constituency on a DPP ticket but is facing competition from former member of parliament for the area Henry Mumba who is also bidding to reclaim the constituency on the DPP ticket. The two are expected to face each other during primaries to decide the party’s candidate for the constituency.

The Farm Income Diversification Programme (FIDP) phase II of the project has helped farmers in fighting malnutrition in Mzimba through training households on how they can prepare locally available foods that have all the required food groups.

FIDP, a project that is run by the government of Malawi and funded by the European nations started in 2009 to 2014 in the district focusing on production and was implemented in six EPAs but changed focus in 2015 to nutrition and agribusiness, targeting the same beneficiaries that were targeted on production.

Despite Mzimba having a history of producing more foods, malnutrition levels particularly on children is still a cause of worry, a development FIDP Project Desk Officer Vinjeru Mkandawire attribute to poor preparation of food.

“Most of the times, the food is available but the households don’t know what to do with it in terms of preparing it especially for the babies such that they are malnourished because most of the times the women don’t know how to prepare the food for the kids,” Mkandawire said.

As part of ensuring that the farmers fight malnutrition they have been training them on how to utilize the food they have and as a way of passing information to the households, Mkandawire said they have created a chain of passing information.

“We trained five farmers from each farmer group and these are facilitators and this was just like a starting point so after they were trained they were supposed to go ahead and train two more so we took five from each farmer group and we have 16 farmer groups in Mzimba,” she said.

Mkandawire added, “Those two are supposed to identify another two, so it will be like a chain so the facilitators were trained by the officers from our office then they trained two farmers who will also train two each and it will continue like that.”

Apart from focusing on nutrition, FIDP is also focusing on agribusiness so that farmers are business oriented and the project has also integrated issues of gender and HIV AIDS.

The case involving Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker for Mzimba Hora Constituency Christopher Mzomera Ngwira has been adjourned to April 24, 2018 for further hearing.

Ngwira who was arrested on in January by Malawi's graft busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is alleged to have fraudulently influenced the awarding of the contract for the construction of Lukwelukwe Teacher’s House project under the Local Development Fund (LDF) and misappropriated MK650, 000 meant for the project in 2010. He has denied the allegations.

Appearing before the Mzimba First Grade Magistrate court on Tuesday which was presided over by a judge from Mzuzu following the recusal of the Mzimba First Grade Magistrate on grounds that he is friends with Ngwira, for hearing ACB lawyers registered six witnesses to testify against Ngwira.

However, only four were paraded and the remaining two were absent, a development that prompted ACB lawyers to ask for the adjournment of the case to Wednesday for them to parade the remaining two witnesses.

However, lawyer for the accused Victor Gondwe asked the court to adjourn the case to a later date stating that he has some engagements on the proposed day of Wednesday.

Ngwira remains on bail having been granted bail the same day he was arrested by the Mzimba First Grade Magistrate George Longwe with a surety of MK50, 000.

According to a press statement the ACB released soon after Ngwira was arrested, on the 7th September, 2010, the bureau received an allegation that Christopher Mzomera Ngwira MP for Mzimba Hora Constituency presented invoices from YOGI and Mzimba Hardware on pretext that they had supplied building materials for Lukwelukwe School Project which is funded under LDF under M’mbelwa District Council.

The Anti- Corruption Bureau is said to have conducted investigations into the matter which established that Ngwira advised the Project Management Committee (PMC) members to sign blank withdrawal slips and told them not to indicate the total amount to be withdrawn and that he on his own indicated MK650,000 on the withdraw form.

“Christopher Mzomera Ngwira is reasonably suspected to have committed an offence under Section 271 (2) (e) of the Penal Code in that he on 2nd August 2010 at NBS branch in Mzimba, converted for his own use money amounting to K650, 000 meant for Lukwelukwe Teacher’s House Project under the LDF programme,” reads part of the statement.

The Mzimba First Grade Magistrate Court has sentenced a 58-year-old man to twelve and half years Imprisonment with Hard labour for defiling his 9-year-old stepdaughter.

Argent Mtonga from Vuta village in the area of Traditional Authority M’mbelwa in Malawi's northern region district of Mzimba, is a polygamist married to three women.

He is said to have been defiling the girl on a number of occasions and threatened her not to reveal the matter.

The court heard that on February 8 this year, as usual Mtonga forced his stepdaughter to have canal knowledge with him and repeated his threat that she should not tell anyone about what has happened.

But unlike in previous occasions, this time around the girl had difficulties in walking and she could feel a headache and abdominal pains.

Four days later she was taken to Kamteteka Health Centre where the Medical personnel revealed that she has been sleeping with an elder person as evidenced by the enlargement of her vagina.

This was when the girl revealed that the stepfather was the one forcing himself on her and she further confessed that it has been happening on several occasions.

Following the girl’s confession, Mtonga was arrested by the police and charged with defilement which is contrary to Section 138 subsection 1 of the Penal Code that attracts a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and appearing before the court he pleaded guilty to the charge.

In mitigation Mtonga asked for leniency as he has a number of responsibilities at home.

But the state prosecutor Vickness Simwinga asked the court to give Mtonga a stiffer punishment saying that if he knew he had responsibilities then he was supposed to look after the daughter as his own child despite being a step daughter rather than being on the forefront doing the evil act.

Simwinga further told the court that cases off defilement are on the rise in the district, such that a stiffer punishment will act as a bigger lesson to would be offenders.

Passing the sentence, First Grade Magistrate George Longwe said he is giving Mtonga a custodial sentence as courts need to be serious in handling such cases for convicts to repent and would be offenders to learn a lesson.

He then slapped Mtonga with a twelve and half year custodial sentence.

Six people died and five others got injured Saturday when a freightliner truck they were travelling in overturned near Elephant Rock on the M1 Road in Mzimba District around three in the afternoon.

Mzimba Police publicist Peter Botha said the injured were rushed to Mzuzu Central Hospital.

He said the truck, registration number NA7605/LA1281, carried several bags of fertilizer from Lilongwe and was heading to Mzuzu.

Botha explained that while descending a slope near the elephant rock, the driver, a Mr. Gift Magolosa, failed to negotiate a left bend due to speeding.

“The vehicle swerved and ended up into a side ditch where it overturned killing six unknown passengers on the spot,” Botha said.

He added that the vehicle got extensively damaged and that the matter was still under investigation.

It has been a bad year for Mzimba District with several accidents claiming many lives including 21 Malawi Defence Force soldiers who died at Mapanjira when their vehicle overturned on November 1.

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