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Puisne judge acquits former Roads Authority CEO, Engineer Hiwa

Justice Violet Palikena Chipao, sitting as a puisne judge in the Chief Resident Magistrate Court has today, 31st January 2024, acquitted former Chief Executive Officer of the Roads Authority, Engineer Trevor Elias Hiwa of the charge of abuse of office.

Hiwa was arrested  during the DPP regime in June 2017 and charged with the offences of failure to disclose interest in the procurement process contrary to Section 25D (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act and Section 19 (1) of the Public Procurement Act and abuse of public office contrary to Section 25B (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act.

This came hot on the heels of reports that Hiwa had influenced Roads Authority to award a consultancy services contract to Infracon Ltd, a firm in which a Trust with which he is associated has an interest. Hiwa was initially acquitted on the charge of failure to disclose his interest in October 2021.

Delivering her judgment in Lilongwe today, Justice Justice Violet Palikena Chipao said that the state’s key witnesses had contradicted himself on the key aspect of who recommended Infracon Ltd to be single sourced for the consultancy services.

She found that although the witness, Mr Sam Kadangwe, had previously stated to the Board for the Roads Authority that the name of Infracon Ltd had been jointly chosen by himself and Engineer Hiwa, in his latter statements to the Anti Corruption Bureau and the Court, Kadangwe had changed his statement by insisting that it was Hiwa alone who recommended the name Infracon Ltd to him.

The Court found that Kadangwe had not satisfactorily explained the inconsistency and consequently found that he was not a reliable witness.

The Court then proceeded to acquit Hiwa, holding that the charge of abuse of office had not been established by the ACB.

One of Hiwa’s lawyers, Khumbo Bonzoe Soko, welcomed the Judgment declaring that justice had been done. “Our client has suffered immensely over the last 7 years not just in his personal life but in his business as well”, he said adding that:

“He was treated as a pariah and was being denied business opportunities as a Consulting Civil and Structural Engineer despite the fact that he enjoyed the presumption of innocence as an accused person. He looks forward to pressing the reset button and moving on with his life.”

On whether Hiwa will sue the ACB for compensation, Soko said that he did not have instructions on this matter.

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