Cashgate prisoner Oswald Lutepo has testified in the trial of attempted murder case of former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo, saying former deputy Inspector General of Malawi Police, Nelson Bophani forced him to implicate former Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambala in the attempted murder.
Kasambala, businessman Pika Manondo and Macdonald Kumwembe are answering attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murders on Mphwiyo.
Lutepo told the court presided by Justice Michael Mtambo that Manondo was closer to Kasambara than Mphwiyo and that “he (Manondo) would die for him (Kasambara).”
The cashgate prisoner was brought to testify as a witness of truth .
He said he was lured into implicating Kasambara to be sacrificial lamb in the shooting of Mphwiyo and the cashgate scandal.
“I was told by ex Police IG Bophani to implicate Kasambara to protect Mphwiyo (in cashgate),” Lutepo , who is serving an 11 year sentence after he was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government and money laundering K4.2 billion ($5.9 million) in 2013, told the court.
Mphwiyo’s shooting on 13 September 2013 led to the unravelling of the systematic looting of millions of government money dubbed ‘cashgate’.
In the shooting trial witnesses have revealed information relating to cashgate, Malawi’s worst financial scandal in its 50 years as an independent country.
An economist who was working in the ministry of finance, treasury department and economic affairs division between the period of April and September 2013, Daniel Jenya told the court that Mphwiyo was not a whistle blower as touted by former president.
Jenya claimed credit of a cashgate whistle-blower having noted the over expenditures from the month of July to August 2013 while working at Macroeconomic Policy Unit where he was responsible for among other things, compilation, analysis fiscal tables.
In his testimony, Lutepo told the court that he was given cash by former president Joyce Banda to support former leader of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) John Tembo’s campaign at 2013 party convention.
“I was briefed to organize funds to help one of the candidates of the MCP convention. It was money that came from PP but I don’t remember how much. Since I didn’t know most politicians, I was told that Manondo, following his stay at Parliament could assist. I gave him the money so he could organize,” Lutepo said when questioned by accused Kumwembe.
“I was told to give money to Manondo because he knew MCP and suppliers of party materials like t-shirts,” Lutepo testified.
Lutepo said he did not follow it up the outcome of the convention as Tembo was barred by MCP Constitution from contesting for the presidency.
“I had other things to do,” he said.
According to Lutepo, the cash Banda gave her to be channeled to MCP amounted to over K10 million ($13 831.26) in tranches.
“What I figured later was that his [Tembo] success meant her [Banda] having a weaker opponent in the elections. I don’t remember how much money [in total] I gave to Manondo for the operation but the last time I gave him a K5 million ($6 916) cheque before the convention,” Lutepo said.
He also told the court that he phoned Banda on September 14, 2013 informing her that Mphwiyo was shot but survived the attempted murder.
Mphwiyo is linked as key player in the looting Mafioso and is also charged on cashgate cases.
Forensic auditors from British audit firm, Baker Tilly, established that under the administration of Joyce Banda, about K24 billion was looted at Capital Hill between April and September 2013 through inflated invoices and payments for goods and services not provided to government.
In 2015, a financial analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 2014 owing to abuse of the central payment system, Integrated Financial Management Information System .
Western donor nations and agencies, which provide 40% of Malawi’s budget, froze vital aid in reaction to the scandal.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :