Former Minister of Justice, Ralph Kasambara has implicated businessman, Oswald Lutepo in the mysterious fire that gutted Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) headquarters in Blantyre on October 18, 2013 destroying an unspecified amount of property including data.
No report has come out on what ignited the fire.
However, Kasambara took to Facebook s on Monday to claim that it was Lutepo who masterminded the fire inorder to erase information relating to business deal he failed to fullfil.
His claims attaches weight to what Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) president Mark Katsonga said that the fire that gutted down Escom building was an arson and that government was responsible for it.
Kasambara alleges that Lutepo won a K650 million tender to supply various items to the institution and was paid about K300 million as advance payment but did not deliver.
Apparently Lutepo has told the police that it is Kasambara who instructed him to loot K3.6 billion from government coffers.
”So Oswald Lutepo a self-made billionaire and senior party official was my mere messenger ? LOL !! .Next we will hear that I sent him to get that MK650 million order from ESCOM’ and after he had been paid over half as advance payment but could not deliver, I sent him to organize guys that set ESCOM House ablaze!!!” wrote Kasambara.
He added: “ And yet we have professional police officers in this country. Or am I dreaming? Or are they simply marionettes?”.
And when Nyasa Times contacted, Kasambara who is answering charges of atempt to murder of former government’s Budget Director, Paul Mphwiyo , maintainted what he had posted on social-media, saying “This is known issue. Just ask anyone at Escom they will tell you about it”.
Lutepo, currently on court bail, is one of the main suspects in now called Capital Hill cash gate where billions of kwacha in public funds were looted.
He is said to have pocketed K2.6 billion through ghost contracts and is being charged with theft contrary to Section 278 of the Penal Code an d money laundering contrary to Section 35 (1)(c) of the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Act.
Minister of Energy, Ibrahim Matola was coy to comment about the alleged Lutepo deal, arguing the utility provider officials were better placed to comment on the issue.
Escom Public Relations Manager, Kitty Chinseu-Chingota said the truth about the fire and the damage caused would be known once investigations’ report the institution was currently compiling is released.
“At the moment we have no idea of what caused the fire. The truth will be known once the report is officially out any time some,” said Chingota.
In October, government promised to institute investigations on the incident but media reports indicate that there is no single government-instituted inquiry per se but rather different concerned departments are conducting separate investigations upon whose findings government may set up an independent inquiry.
The fierce fire, suspected to have originated from the revenue and accounts section before spreading to other offices, razed to ashes entire ground floor, where ESCOM customers used to pay their bills and buy electricity units, among others.
The incident happened at the height of revelations of massive theft of public money at Capital Hill dubbed cashgate and the time when the civil society and other concerned people were calling for the parastatal to be probed following its K1.4 billion expenditure on a 33 new fleet of top-of-the-range vehicles purchased for its bosses.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :