Dorothy Shonga sent millions to Magalasi after receiving payment from MERA, court told

A witness has told the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court that businessperson Dorothy Shonga and former Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) boss, Collins Magalasi, are co-owners of Vink Enterprise and that after Shonga received K30 million as payment for Vink’s deal with MERA, she sent at least 11 million to Magalasi who was at the time chief executive officer of MERA.

Police detective Ephraim Phiri is the last state witness in the case in which Magalasi and other two MERA officials are accused of fraudulently awarding a contract to Vink Enterprises. Over K186 million was allegedly involved in the deal.

According to Phiri, on paper the company is owned by Shonga and a person named Viecca Paul.

Police, however, sourced documents from Registrar of Companies which show that Magalasi and Shonga are partners and each owns 50 percent shares in Vink.

Phiri added that Shonga managed to open a CDH Bank for Vink Enterprise using a fake Turkish passport with the name Viecca Paul at the top and the name Paksul Murati at the bottom.

On his part, Magalasi presented a passport with the names Collins Viecca Paul Magalasi but he only used the middle names for the bank account.

The company then secured the deal with MERA for supply of cloth and long and short sleeve shirts.

When she received the money from MERA, Shonga on 8 April, 2020, according to Phiri, transferred K30 million to her account at Standard Bank.

On the same day, Shonga transferred K6 million to Collins Magalasi’s account.

She then withdrew K13 million and deposited K11 million in Collins Magalasi’s National Bank account.

Shonga and Magalasi together with former MERA public relations officer Patrick Maulidi and procurement officer Bright Mbewe were arrested in 2020 on accusations that they influenced MERA Internal Procurement and Disposal Committee to award the contract to Vink Enterprise.

The contract was for supply of MERA strategic plan booklets as well as branded cloth and T-shirts.

It is suspected that apart from the alleged breaches in procurement procedures, the contract sum was also inflated.