The State has added businessman Oswald Lutepo, the chief suspect in the systematic plunder of government money, dubbed ‘cashgate’, as one of the accused persons in an attempted murder case of former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo.
Lutepo now joins lawyer Ralph Kasambara, Pika Manondo, Dauka Manondo and others answering to the same charges.
Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale told the court before Justice Michael Ntambo that the state has new evidence that shows that Lutepo was part of the conspiracy to murder Mphwiyo.
The defence team did not object to the application.
“We can’t stand on their way, they are free to bring in anyone into the issue,” said one of the defence lawyer Wapona Kita.
Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to November 12 to 14 when the defence will continue cross examining Mphwiyo.
In the trial, alaMphwiyo, whose shooting on 13 September 2013 led to the unravelling of the systematic looting of millions of government money dubbed ‘cashgate’, testified .
that Brown Mpinganjira, a senior government official in the former Joyce Banda administration, warned him that former Justice Minister and Attorney Ralph Kasambara – who was arrested in connection with the shooting, and another former ruling People’s Party (PP) official Hophmally Makande, had given him “ten days to live” unless he honoured certain government payments.
Makande, a former PP spokesman, is not on trial for the case but Kasambara, who has been charged with conspiracy to murder Mphwiyo, denies the charges.
Mphwiyo told the court, presided over by Justice Michael Mtambo, that two bullets hit him in the mandible and another went through his shoulder to his chest. One bullet was removed in a South African hospital but two others – lodged in his spinal column – will remain inside the 38-year-old for the rest of his life.
Soon after Mphwiyo’s shooting millions of cash in Malawi kwacha, US dollars and South African rands started pitching up in unlikely places like in car trunks, baby dolls, under beds or in pillow cases.
Analysts say ‘cashgate’ may have cost Joyce Banda, Africa’s second female president, the the election held 20 May 2014.
Western donor countries and agencies reacted by freezing up to US $150 million in aid for Malawi.
At least 70 suspects are currently in court facing fraud, corruption and money laundering charges surrounding ‘cashgate’, Malawi’s worst financial scandal in its 50 years as an independent country.