Judge postpones Malawi ‘Cashgate’ convict sentencing

The sentencing of  top tourism ministry official Treza Namathanga  Senzani who is the first convict in the so-called “Cashgate” scandal that led to the suspension of foreign aid  has been shifted to Monday, October 6.

Senzani pleaded guilty to stealing around $150,000 (63 million kwacha) from state coffers, part of a broader swindle worth at least $30 million and  was convicted  on her own guilty plea.

She was due to be sentenced on October 2 but it has been delayed .

Senzani's cashgate  sprawling mansion

Senzani’s cashgate sprawling mansion

Namathana Senzani:  First cashgate convict likely to escape prison sentence

Namathana Senzani: First cashgate convict likely to escape prison sentence

Trial Judge Ivy Kamanga said the sentencing had been put off for at least four days.

Her lawyer Necton Mhura  confirmed said t received communication that “sentencing has been postponed to Monday.”

Nyasa Times understands that her swift guilty plea has been a “ bargain” for non custodial sentence. She is likely going to get a suspended jail term.

“Malawians have not lost because my client paid back the MK 63.5 million stolen money in full. Of course there has been the consequence of withdrawal of donor aid and loss of donor aid but donor confidence won’t be regained by sending Cashgate convicts to jail. Sending her to jail will not bring back drugs in the hospitals.” Mhura, who is also law lecturer at University of Malawi,  told the court.

Human rights activist Billy Mayaya opined on social media on Mhura’s submission as “.jurisprudence and legal Rreasoning for the birds. And meanwhile on the other side, people continue to be convicted for stealing chickens.”

The state plans to use Senzani as a prosecution witness in other Cashgate cases.

An audit by British auditors, Baker Tilly, commissioned by former president Joyce Banda, revealed that 13 billion Malawi Kwacha (about US $30 million) had been systematically skimmed from the government payment system in a period of six months last year.

Businessmen and politicians connived with civil servants for payments of goods and services not rendered to government.

‘Cashgate’ unravelled following the shooting of former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo in September last year. Following Mphwiyo’s shooting huge sums of money in Malawi Kwacha, South African Rands and US dollars started showing up in unlikely places like car boots or under the pillow as the suspects were avoiding formal banking sector since the unexplained money could have raised eye-brows.

The scandal had prompted foreign donors — who provide around 40 percent of Malawi’s budget — to pull the plug on aid of around $150 million .

The Cashgate scheme is the biggest financial scandal in Malawi’s history.

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54 thoughts on “Judge postpones Malawi ‘Cashgate’ convict sentencing”

  1. Peter Mathanyula Wakuba, formerly known as Obanda Joyce Ntilen says:

    This is obscene bwanji. Look at that house! Ndalama zokubazo kutasa nazo choncho?

  2. mopia says:

    The defence lawyer’s argument is dangerous and counterproductive. This woman deserves life sentence because she is a murderer. How many people lost their lives because of her acts in hospitals. Surely common sense tells me that some part of the money she stole was meant to buy medicine for Malawi hospitals. At the time she stole our money, there were reports that people were dying in hispitals because of lack of medicine. Apite kundende. Nga macourt alephera our ancestral spirits will commit her to death sentence.

  3. azeez says:

    Imeneyi nyumba yamunthu wogwira ntchito m’boma? Koma ngati mumayankhula n’Chauta, ayi tiuzeni verse yake nafe tiyeseko!

  4. Livulezi river says:

    @ 48, Mwapheranjiru is right!!!! Eeeehh!!!! Imeneyi nyumba ya munthu wogwira ntchito kapena wa bizinezi? Even Mulli Brothers MD, Leston, nyumba ngati imeneyi alibe!! Fufuzani pena pali pose. Zonse walembazo inenso ndikugwirizana nawe! First step should be kumulanda Chuma chonsecho, then sending her to jail! But to be frank with you my fellow readers, I have doubts with the credibility of this Judge. I would be comfortable if it was Chifundo Kachale, Dustain Mwaungulu, Anaclet Chipeta and/or Edward Twea.

  5. chatty man says:

    have your say malawians

  6. Mwapheranjiru says:

    A Malawi, imeneyi nyumba ya munthu wogwira ntchito mu boma? Bvuto ku Malawi liripo chifukwa boma likulekerera anthu kumaba. Munthu wolandila K150 000 pa mwezi akupedzeka ndi ulemerero wa ma billions, koma boma kumangoyang;ana. Mai uyu afufudzidwe ulemerero wache wonse umene ali nawo moyenera ndi ndalama zimene amalandira pa mwezi. Zonse a boma landani, zonsezo ndizakuba. Palinso anthu ambiri mu boma ali ndi ma nyumba mu Lilongwe oposa iyi mwainjambulayi, koma boma lingowayang’ana. Mboni, mboni ya boma chani, samalirani. Mai uyu alandidwe manyumba onse amene wamanga. Komanso boma lifufudze kumene ena anapedza ndalama zomangira manyumba tate house ao. Ena amanama kuti amachita bizinesi, koma bizinesi yosakhoma nawo mtsonkho ku MRA?

  7. Mwendanato says:

    EQUATE THIS OPULENT MANSION TO LIVES LOST, ROTTEN DEAD BODIES IN MORTUARIES, HER AFFLUENT LIFE STYLES, HER FROM RUGS TO RICHES STORY, HER CHILDREN EDUCATION FROM THE LOOT AND THE STATEMENT FROM HER LAWYER LECTURER. DO YOU GET A DIVIDING LINE IN REASONING CAPACITY. THE BEST JUDGE FOR SUCH CASES ARE DUNSTAN MWAUNGULU OR ANCLET CHIPETA WHOSE POCKETS HAVE NOT BEEN TAINTED OR WHOSE JUDICIAL BRAINS HAVE NOT BEEN CORRUPTED. I SAID IT THE OTHER TIME ON THIS VERY PAGE KUTI WE HAVE VERY FEW LECTURERS AT OUR UNIVERSITIES WHO HAVE HOLISTIC INTELLECT STILL INTACT IF WE WERE TO GO BY THEIR UTTERANCES .

  8. kams says:

    Ngati munthu wa bweza musiyeni limbanani ndi enawo

  9. Rich jossam says:

    Have your time mr judge for people are watching.wishing you a 9c judgement

  10. chidumayo says:

    It’s very painful. Paying taxes for other people to enjoy. Look at her mansion and look at her salary. Its better you stop us paying taxes. Shiiitiii. bloodful zanu asokonombwe, achamumatowo, amununkhadala, mbozi, agalangánda, agulukunyina,

  11. Ma says:

    What she has returned is just a fraction of what she stole. RK will also return just mk1b and keep mk4b and avoid jail if you set up the precedent.

    Judge: Why did you suspend date of sentence? Other countries judge would have given reason but zili ku Malawi no body sees this as APM instruction to wait and consult his legion of advisors. ..my foot!!!

  12. richard suluma says:

    Honestly speakly , though am not in law profession , but i can see something wrong with the way the so called cashgate issue is handled. Almost an year has gone without one being sent to jail. Lets wait and see what will happen on monday on this mbava lady.

  13. thako la phalombe says:

    she made herself a bed of thorns, let her sleep on it. Some people are behind bars just for stealing chickens. Giving back the money doesnt mean she is no longer a law breaker.

  14. Mphatso mbewe says:

    Let justice prevail no matter wat,cashgate has brought alot of problems 2 malawians so maximum sentence is needed.

  15. Livulezi river says:

    ” Judge postpones Malawi cash gate convict sentencing ” Ok! Tavaaaa!!!! Reason , ” the advantages of being well connected & tribe oriented” if you know what I mean! The convict had been together all the way from college days with the judge. Now look at the calibre of the lawyer she is using!!! ” So you expect her to spend some days behind bars??? NEVAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Frackson Maotcha says:

    Let justice prevail….Remember, God is watching from a distance.

  17. rosie says:

    Please arrest this woman she deserves to be in jail for a long time. Others have also served a jail sentence this woman should go!!! she probably has millions stored

  18. vin says:

    Mind you she is sister to Anna Kachiko DPP & a Lomwe fellow. the punishment cannot be as huge as we caould think. she is protected. kaya zimenezi mweeeeeee. Agalu inu! you must be very stupid!!!

  19. Omex70 says:

    She is a sister to a DPP member of parliament in Phalombe. That should raise our eye brows on the judgement. Postponed? Waiting for what? We don’t want to hear anything apart from custodial sentence of years not months.

  20. VYOTO says:

    Yusuf Mwawa, former Minister of Education spent some years in jail just for using MK160,000 for his wedding and he also paid back if my memory is correct and so too was John Chikakwiya, the former BT Mayor who paid back MK400,000 but still served some years.So Madam Ivy Kamanga despite Namathanga being part of the Lomwe network allow justice to prevail in her case . Malawians and Donors in particular expect not less than 5 years jail term for this thief.

  21. Mnkhulang'ona says:

    Akaseve basi…..

  22. Wilrad says:

    Put her in her rightful place for good that’s prison period

  23. Ineyo says:

    The thief was a PS heading a Ministry. Since she was a thief she culd not stop others from doing the same, therefore her actions led to more looting at the Ministry because she was at the heart of everthing. Therefore, returning the MK63 million which is a tiny fraction from what was actually stolen in her Ministry does not make her innocent. Her actions have led to donors freezing aid to the poor country and her suspended sentence will not help matters. My worry is that Necton Mhura is DPP and this could be DPP speaking, after all Senzani is one of their own. Phada ku Malawi!

  24. Nyakwawa says:

    Just look at the house in the picture which she bullt at Bunda Turn Off. This shows that she stole more than the 65 Million she has refunded. This property should be valued and let her provide evidence as to how she financed its construction.

  25. Abiti Mtila says:

    Precedence! If given suspended sentence, then release all the prisoners who pleaded guilty! Even if this one is not used as state witness, the writing is on the wall! People stole money evidence is there we don’t need witnesses, what for!

  26. drakes says:

    I dont see any justification by the Judges to give her a suspended sentence despite her cooperating with the Investigators and persecutors. The onus of the matter is that these people are selfish,evil and bad, they didnt have the respect of Government property and being Top Government officials they felt that they had the power to do anything. I wish the Judge should sentence her a minimum of 15 years Jail Term. This will deter others who are arrogantly abusing resources in Government and statutory bodies, our lawyers must not defend trash and bend the laws to save the culprits. The damage the cash gaters has caused has affected every family in Malawi. On top of sentencing their property must be ceased and disposed off as a further punishment for getting riches through dubious means. Malawians wants all Cashgaters to be Punished severely and they should not in any way enjoy the money they stole.

  27. eye eye says:

    why is it that the sentencing keeps changing dates? yet the poor plebians are convicted and sentenced same day? whats the difference? what is making the judge keep changing? what influence or she is not sure of the judgements she is making over time and needs to be modified? I keep wondering!

  28. apolitical says:

    Senzani has properties worth millions at her home trading centre in Phalombe, she has an investment at Mchesi behind Injena Filling Station worth over a billion kwacha and her 6Miles Villa is over a K100million Kwacha! She has also other properties in the low density locations of Areas 6, 44, 46, and 47, If u say she returned K63m how did she manage to acquire all these properties on a civil servants salary? There is more to this Cashgate Scandal!

    1. eye eye says:

      she should be a multi-millionnaire or billionnaire then……
      if what u r saying to go bye…..the villa just demonstrates it all

  29. gulukunyinda says:

    If she lived in the luxury of that mansion, she will not survive jail. Have mercy

  30. Alfred Munduwabo says:

    The lady is within the colony of Lomwe , the delay is because of wanting to negotiate with Mlakho. She is a direct sister of Anna Kachikho.

  31. Hazrat Pillane says:

    Waiting to see bribed justice to be delivered. What if she stole 1bn and only being accused of 63mn? Ife kugwidwa rogue and vagabond we pay fine or 5yrs in default, but stealing millions the justice system in Malawi is still consulting. Will start stealing soon and dont come near me ndizakulozani, you will be crippled period.

  32. Charter says:

    Mhuula is a dull lawyer. “Malawians have not lost. My client has paid back all the money …”! Is this a defense? Do we need to be thanking thieves for giving us back what they stole from us? What law is this guy teaching students at Chanco?

  33. Thyolo Thava says:

    Chikakwiya repaid the whole amount he store, K300,000.00 yest he was imprisoned for 3 years. What excuses do you have mr Judge? Negotiating your bonus from the case? We r watching …Lero donors ran away coz of these pple. The nation is suffering, why feel sorry for them? Chikwakwiya theft did not affect the whole nation…koma izi……….licence mwakweza, vehicle registration mwakweza chifukwa cha a kanganya amenewa…No mercey…..5 to 10 years

  34. Vavlov says:

    So how about the mansion she built with stolen money, will it be confiscated?

  35. yakoija says:

    monday is not far lets wait

  36. khesha says:

    I want to know.. is this lady true to say she has paid all the monies …what it means here is that she has stolen more money than we are thinking imagine this house above. Let her go prison

  37. man says:

    guys what she did has killed many innocent people in malawi who were supposed to benefit from the 65 million she stole from gvt. she deserves a stiff penalty as a lession to who would be cash gaters. kupha nyani sitiyang’a nkhope. please a judge, life imprisonment to these merceless devils.

  38. Sosten Gwengwe says:

    Koma lawyers you are not helping this nation. Amangidwe ameneyo basi. Kodi kupanda kuwululika akanabweza yekha? She must be punished for her intention not for the actual money stolen. Koma Mphwiyo mukumusiya bwanji? He and JB are the main thieves.

  39. Mavuto Jombo says:

    I believe the judge is NOT that stupid as to give her a suspended sentence. Just because her defence lawyer has said that does not mean that is the judgement. You people are talking as if the judge has no brain and will just take whatever Mhura said as judgement. You will be surprised………………..

  40. salimu says:

    Just release her she is not the only thief in Malawi. As we are speaking go to Central Medical Stores Trust you will be shocked by the scale of fraud and corruption. Disappointingly ACB knows about the collusion between Maxwell Chimkokomo, Charles Khombeni and an Asian called Sonali. Tiyeni tizingoba basi.

  41. Jando says:

    She was holding a position of trust as ps.this is a clear case of abuse of trust and deserves meaningful punishment. Her action of stealing has contributed to cause economic melt down in malawi . This would also serve as warning to other controlling officers in govt.

  42. MAN says:

    money talks,there are two kinds of justice in this world,one for the rich and another for the poor.

  43. William kaunda says:

    She must go to jail, osatipusitsa apa. People are rotting in jail because of as little as k 10,000.00. I would be very surprised if she could be given a suspended sentence. After all, what she paid is the profit she made from what she stole.

  44. Jeff kachali Banda says:

    This woman is getting away with murder!!!! Do you remember John Chikakwiya (Former Blantyre Mayor)? He was convicted of stealing MK600,000 (Six Hundred Thousand Kwacha) that was given to the City of Blantyre as a donation. He returned the money during trial and upon his conviction his bail was revoked and had to come from jail to hear his punishment of which he got 4yrs in jail with hard labour. Yet this Big Crook stole over 65 million kwacha is still at home after conviction having English breakfast!!!! Malawians Zambians are laughing at here where I am…stop this nonsense!!!!

  45. The cash gater says:

    Strip her of all the proceeds from the cash gate. Let her begin from zero and be at base with the local and poor masses who have suffered because of her greed. She can be given suspended sentence or whatever that means but as likely said, it will not bring back the lives lost because of her actions. Only God will bill judge her properly

  46. Change GOLO! says:

    it seems the legal technicalities ARE GOING TO BETRAY THE STRUGGLING malawians.No Aid,No Drugs etc AND is this the way Prof Peter Muthalika and the team are going to pay the Malawians who voted for him.Lets wait and see.

  47. MKWAPU says:

    THIS PROMOTING ANARCHY IN THIS COUNTRY

  48. Quota system says:

    There must have been some legal technicalities at play. There are two theories here. One is that if the sentence is lenient, precedence may be set for the next court judgements. The other would be that if she is only slapped with a suspended sentence, others may follow suit to plead guilty, pay back what they stole and be pardoned. Senzani may also be used as a state witness

  49. MKWAPU says:

    MIND U SHE ALSO STOLE FROM MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
    THIS COUNTRY CRIMINALS R RUNNING IT!!!!!!!

  50. ujeni says:

    Waiting for instructions from State House, corruption basi, zopusa zedi

  51. Nkasai says:

    Is she going to supplement our budget ,if not Malawians are loser so she must be jailed reason being she caused aid freeze and people are dying in hospitals due to lack of drugs!

  52. Change GOLO! says:

    Think of the poor rural Malawians struggling because of her actions AND HERE U ARE GIVING A SUSPENDED SENTENCE-Whatever animal you call it.The villagers will not understand you-BUT GOD is watching your actions !

  53. New Generation says:

    mwayamba njomba, sentence her whether she has paid back some part of the stolen money or not. what about the massion, has she surrendered it to Malawians? Justice should prevail!!!!

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