LILONGWE—Malawi’s clerk of Parliament Matilda Katopola on Tuesday, who faces allegations of wrongdoing, entered a not-guilty plea when she appeared in court in the capital, Lilongwe.
“Not guilty,” Katopola told Chief Resident Magistrate Ruth Chinangwa.
She faces two charges of abuse of office and failure to declare interest in award of contracts and could be jailed for 19 years – 7 is maximum for first charge and 12 for the second - if found guilty.
In 2007, Katopola is said to have awarded contracts worth K87, 000 to her company, Monik Trends. She was fired over the issue but the late president Bingu wa Mutharika gave her job back.
Now that Katopola has been charged, she isn’t allowed to return to work, according regulations of the Malawi public sector.
The case was adjourned to September after Katopola’s attorney, Yambani Mulemba, asked for 21 days after evidence was disclosed to prepare a response.
Happy Mkandawi is the lead prosecutor in the case which didn’t attract a lot of attention on Tuesday. There were a few people in court and Katopola came with family and friends.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.