Malawi special Cashgate prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu, welcomed the sentencing of businesswoman Caroline Savala to seven years in jail with hard labour for defrauding Malawi government money worthy MK85 million.
Savala gets three years custodial sentence on theft charges and seven years custodial sentence for money laundering. The two sentences will run concurrently, meaning that she will serve seven years.
She was found guilty of theft and money laundering on July 17, 2015.
Reacting to the sentence, prosecutor Nyasulu said Savala’s jailing will send out a strong message to all those involved in Cashgate.
Nyasulu said the state was “satisfied” with the sentence considering the gravity of the case.
He further revealed that the State intends to recover some of the money from Savala’s assets, being kept by another cashgate criminal Leonard Kalonga and accomplice Florence Chatuwa.
In her judgement, Justice Fiona Mwale spoke against trivialising the “cashgate” affair – the worst financial scandal in the country’s history.
Western donor nations and agencies, which provide 40% of Malawi’s budget, froze vital aid worth around $150m in reaction to the scandal.
Justice Mwale said cashgate will continue haunting the country economy in coming years.
She described Savala as a trickster citing the engineering company which she claims was registered with the purpose of stealing from the government.
This was because the company was registered hastily considering that her initial business was a small enterprise which was selling lipsticks.
Despite the absence of Savala’s legal team led by Raphael Kasambara, Mwale gave the convict three years and seven years jail term for theft and money laundering respectively.
Judge Mwale said that no reason given for Kasambara’s absence during the final court’s verdict describing the conduct as a sign of not interested in defending the convict hence passing of the judgment.
This was also despite the 48 hours given by the court for the defense team to present their mitigating factors.
Mwale also observed that mitigating factors which were given later in court were said to be weak and lacking integrity, saying she did not cooperate with the court as she did not plead guilty, thereby wasting time.
The wanton looting of government resources was exposed by the shooting of the then Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo at the gate of his house in Area 43 in Lilongwe on September 13 2013.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :