Katopola appears in court, pleads not guilty
Clerk of Malawi Parliament Mrs. Maltilda Katopola has pleaded not guilty to two charges of abuse of office and failure to disclose interest in awarding of a contract when she appeared before the Lilongwe magistrates court on Tuesday.
The embattled clerk of parliament is accused of hiring her company - Monic Trends - to supply stationery worth about K160, 000 to the national assembly.
“Not guilty,” pleaded Katopola, dressed in a white jacket and a pair of black trousers.
Immediately after Katopola entered plea, Happy Mkandawire who heads prosecution and legal services in the Malawi police service said the law enforcers needed time before the case goes into trial.
“We have to work on some issues like recording witnesses so we ask that court be adjourned, “said the police chief prosecutor.
Chief Resident Magistrate Ruth Chinangwa then adjourned the case to September 25.
However, Mr. Mkandawire could not be drawn to comment on how many witnesses government is ready to parade.
The charge of abuse of office carries a maximum of three years imprisonment while the second one which is failure to disclose interest in awarding a contract attracts a 12 year prison sentence.
Government recently sent Katopola on forced leave but she has since been recalled reportedly after President Joyce Banda refused to fire her.
If she had been dismissed government would have paid her close to K1 billion in compensation, an amount equivalent to what Capitol Hill allocated to the green belt initiative in the national budget