Socialite and “self-made” multi-millionaire Dorothy Shonga is facing a potential life sentence if found guilty having been charged with money laundering and fraud this morning over the MERAgate scandal together with her partner, Collins Magalasi.
The two are answering the charges together with Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) spokesperson Patrick Maulidi.
MERA chief executive officer Magalasi and spokesperson Maulidi were arrested on Monday while Shonga was arrested on Tuesday.
The three appeared in court this morning where they were charged with fraud, money laundering and entering into procurement with an employee.
Section 42 of the country’s Financial Crimes Act passed in 2017 sets a maximum of life imprisonment for a person who commits money laundering.
Section 331A (1) of the Penal Code as amended in 2011 before the 2017 Financial Crimes Act was passed states that “any personwho engages in money laundering shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of K2,000,000 and imprisonment for ten years”.
In court, the state said the three should be remanded to prison as police continue with investigations while the defence prayed for bail.
Chief Resident Magistrate Violet Chipao said she will make a ruling on Friday July, 31
Shonga is Magalasi’s business partner and together they reportedly own DC Brand Cloud.
The state accuses Magalasi, Maulidi and Shonga of forcing the MERA Internal Procurement and Disposal Committee to award a contract worth K107 million to Vink Enterprise which is owned by Shonga. The crime was committed in August 2019.
Shonga describes herself as a self-made millionaire saying she made her riches while working on the campaign of Zambia’s President, Edgar Lungu.