Four Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) senior officials on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to two charges of abuse of office and theft by a person employed in the public service.
Fyawupi Mwafonga, Moses Mphepo, Chrissy Ajawa and James Chiusiwa appeared before Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa in Lilongwe on Tuesday for plea taking.
However, the defence sought for an adjournment on the basis that it was not prepared for the witnesses to be paraded before the court and that the Magistrate was presiding over another matter.
“The adjournment was sought by ourselves because we were not prepared for the actual witnesses, like the court the indicated, it had set down another case for this fellow same day when this had already been given to this other case.
“So, as a result there was a problem in terms of mental focus on our part, we couldn’t focus on two cases at the same time, and our request for the adjournment,” said Innocent Kubwalo, one of the defense lawyers.
The Court has since asked parties in the case to file a notice of hearing for a new date to be set for continuation of hearing of the case.
On a charge of abuse of office, the four are suspected to have authorised payment for Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) and lunch allowance at Linde Motel in Dowa District which resulted DoDMA losing funds amounting to K413,000.
0n theft charge, the suspects are being accused to have received lunch allowances for two days which was K56,000 in total but failed to account for the same to government.