One of the 36 women compensated by United Kingdom (UK) firm Camellia Group for abuse in the country’s tea estates has sued environment activist Godfrey Mfiti for allegedly swindling her.
Jacqueline Makiyi, 26, on Wednesday told the Blantyre Magistrate’s Court that out of about K14.9 million she was entitled to, she only received K180 000 from the activist.
She also told the court that they were about to receive their compensation for rape and other sexual harassment, Mfiti offered to assist them to open bank accounts to better manage their compensations.
Makiyi said the activist assisted her to withdraw money on four occasions as she cannot read nor write.
She said: “He [Mfiti] was keeping some of the money after withdrawing it. He bought for me 30 iron sheets, door and window frames, 10 bags of cement, mattress, two hoes and two buckets.
“He also claimed that he had opened a company and made me a shareholder. But, when I wanted to inquire more he started ignoring my calls.”
During cross-examination, Mfiti’s lawyer Hanif Aufi asked
Makiyi if she knew how much she received as compensation.
In response, Makiyi told the court that she did not because she neither read nor write.
She said it was lawyer Chikondi Chijozi who advised her to go to Fiscal Police after suspecting the money was swindled.
In her testimony, Chijozi, who is the second State witness, told the court that she received information from Leigh Day, a UK law firm that represented the women in the compensation proceedings there, to investigate reports that Mfiti had taken almost all of Makiyi’s money.
She said she found that the K180 000 and the construction materials Makiyi received from Mfiti did not match the amount she was awarded as compensation.
Chijozi said: “Miss Makiyi and I went to the bank and collected a bank statement which showed that on 21st May 2021, her account was credited K14 925 480. On 26th May 2021, K1 million was withdrawn.
“On 28th May K6 million was withdrawn. On 4th June K5.5 million was withdrawn and K1.8 million was withdrawn on 17th June 21 2021. So as at 2nd July 2021, the balance was K613 228.”
Blantyre principal resident magistrate Godfrey Balaka has adjourned the matter to January 27 2023 when the State is expected to parade its third and final witness.
Makiyi is being represented by police prosecutor Henry Chitandale
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