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Malawi High Court sentences former
Justice Minister to 13-year imprisonment       

LILONGWE Malawi  (Xinhua) -- The High Court in Lilongwe, Malawi, Tuesday sentenced former Justice Minister, Raphael Kasambara, to a 13-year jail term for conspiring to murder the country’s former Budget Director, Paul Mphwiyo.

The Lilongwe High Court Judge, Justice Michael Mtambo, on July 21 found the former minister guilty and two others, former Malawi Defense Force officer MacDonald Kumwembe and business person Pika Manondo, guilty of conspiracy to murder, and attempted murder of Phwiyo.

Manondo and Kumwembe have been respectively sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for attempted murder and 11-year imprisonment for conspiring to murder the former Budget Director.

The two’s sentences are to run consecutively, meaning that Manondo and Kumwembe will each spend 26 years behind bars.

Kasambara, a renowned lawyer and trainer, and the two were arrested after they were implicated in the shooting of former Budget Director, Mphwiyo, at the gates of his residence in Lilongwe on the night of August 13, 2013.

The former Budget Director was air-lifted to South Africa where he underwent a successful surgery before he came back for a long legal battle against his assailants.

Mphwiyo’s shooting unraveled the historic plunder of public funds in Malawi known as cashgate that saw hundreds of billions of kwacha go into the pockets of some civil servants.

Meanwhile over ten men and women have been convicted of cashgate and they are currently serving jail terms while over 70 cases of cashgate are yet to be heard by court. 

The former Budget Director too was arrested in 2014 on charges of money laundering, theft and conspiracy to defeat course of justice.

His wife, Thandie Mphwiyo, was also charged with money laundering and theft and their cases are still in court.



Malawi sees falling tobacco sales and revenue

LILONGWE Malawi  (Xinhua) -- Tobacco sales for 2016 in Malawi have dropped by 31 percent in revenue realized and 22 percent in volumes sold so far, an Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) Group official said on Tuesday.

Mark Ndipita, Corporate Affairs Manager for AHL Goup, said as of August 19, the country had sold close to 130 million kilograms of tobacco of all types at an average price of 1.52 U.S. dollars per kilogram.

Over the same period in 2015, the country had sold 165.7 million kilograms of tobacco at an average price of 1.79 U.S. dollars per kilogram, raking in 296.1 million dollars.

“In terms of revenue realized compared to last year after 19 weeks of sale, there is a decrease of about 31 percent, and in terms of volumes in kilograms there is a decrease of 22 percent of tobacco sold,” explained Ndipita.

“The decrease in revenue realized and volumes sold when compared to last year can be attributed to low prices, high no-sale rejection rates and reduced competition on the auction system,” he added.

Tobacco is Malawi’s chief foreign exchange earner followed by sugar, and tea. As of 2010, the southern African country was the world’s largest producer of burley tobacco.  

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