Law expert says Lutepo chooses ‘inappropriate forum for confessions’: Malawi cashgate

Prof Chirwa: Lutepo incosistent

Prof Chirwa: Lutepo incosistent

Lutepo: I will hold public conference

Lutepo: I will hold public conference

Attorney General Kaphale: Once called Lutepo 'stupid' in court

Attorney General Kaphale: Once called Lutepo ‘stupid’ in court

Malawi legal commentator Professor Danwood Chirwa  has said businessman and chief cashgate suspect Oswald Lutepo is not in contempt of court in granting an exclusive interview with the radio to comment on his cases under court consideration but that he is choosing inappropriate forums  -the media – for his confessions.

Lutepo gave an interview on Zodiak Broadcasting Station on Friday to accept wrong doing in the plunder of public resources and apologised to the nation.

He claimed that though he defrauded government, he was used as a “conduit” and implicated former president Joyce Banda for benefitting part of his stolen money.

Banda rebutted the claims, saying they are “malicious” and calculated to drag her in the mud of cashgate.

Commenting on the allegations made by Lutepo on the private broadcaster, Professor Chirwa, based at University of Cape Town, told Nyasa Times that Lutepo did not violate sub judice rule of not commenting on matters currently in court.

“The sub judice rule is not explicitly provided for in Malawi, more so that the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and press freedom. It is in the public interest that issues like this should be discussed publicly, as long as such discussions do not undermine the proceedings in the courts. It is in fact a problem when politicians and public officials use the sub judice rule to avoid accountability,” the law scholar told Nyasa Times responding to a questionnaire.

Chirwa, however noted that Lutepo is “choosing inappropriate forums for his confessions,” saying they are inappropriate in the sense that they do not help his own case and the state’s cases against other cashgate accused persons.

“He has made a few statements so far that are inconsistent with each other and there is no guarantee he will not recant his current version in the near future. This prejudices his case because he has already portrayed himself as an unreliable and opportunistic,” said Chirwa.

“Unfortunately if the state would like to use him as a witness against other cashgate suspects, his unreliability will taint his evidence. Defence lawyers will confront him with all the statements he has made including a recording of the interviews he has given thus far, making it pretty easy to discredit his testimony,” the law professor said .

The current Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale is on record trashing Lutepo in one of cashgate trials where he questioned the suspect’s integrity saying his actions and statement were not befitting that of a holder of a master of business administration and a graduate of University of Malawi.

Lutepo, who is answering charges of theft,  money laundering involving K1.2 billion as well as attempted murder and perjury, testified as state witness against now convicted and jailed former accounts assistant Victor Sithole when he told the Lilongwe Magistrate’s court that former Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara forced him to sign court documents to claim that the k122 million cash found in Sithole’s possession belonged to him.

Kaphale  -then in private legal practice -called Lutepo “stupid” saying he could not be have succeeded to own businesses such as Naming’omba Tea Estate and Woget which are worth billions of kwacha with such type of “stupidity”

“Can you confirm to the court that the minister of justice was not your superior, or your business partner, cousin or your uncle? If lam to give you book and tell you to go to court and tell them it’s yours, would you do it?” Kaphale quizzed Lutepo.

Lutepo replied in the negative to all questions, insisting “I signed the documents because I was under pressure from Minister [Kasambara]”.

Kaphale questioned why Lutepo did not withdraw the claim for the K112 million to the court after Kasambara was fired as minister.  Lutepo claimed he was outside the country and had no access to his lawyer.

The Attorney General has since said every Malawian including Lutepo, has freedom of expression, but said he would not discuss the matter in the media opting for a judicial forum.

Professor Chirwa noted that the hard truth though is that the country is between a rock and a hard place in as far as financial malfeasance are concerned.

“Crimes of the magnitude like cashgate are not committed by a mere businessman like Lutepo without the involvement of major political players. These crimes will never stop unless the true architects, who are politicians, everyone knows that, are arrested, prosecuted and convicted,” argued Chirwa.

He states that the cashgate report paints a clear picture of a public financial system that was systematically and purposely overridden in order to milk it of public funds on a large scale.

“The scheme couldn’t have escaped the attention of the very top political superiors in the government at the time. At the very least, these can be accused of gross negligence in handling public funds which is itself a criminal offence,” Chirwa pointed out.

The law expert said because of the artificial distance political leaders create between the operatives and themselves in these schemes; it is only the operatives themselves who can help the nation with evidence.

“This is where Lutepo comes in. he is definitely a key man in this whole crime as [Paul] Mphwiyo is. If he is truly remorseful and is willing to assist the state, he has to speak to the right authorities, the investigating officers and prosecutors. Otherwise, his public statements do not help anyone, to the extent that his evidence might be easily dismissed in court for inconsistencies,” said Chirwa.

He continued: “If indeed he decides to follow the right channels, the authorities have to analyse his statements carefully and verify them against other independent and objective evidence, precisely because his evidence alone will not be enough. One also has to avoid the situation whereby he is deliberately making these statements knowing that he might cooperate with the state, get a lighter sentence, and then when it comes to giving testimony against other accused persons, his evidence is easily discredited. He will have achieved both aims, to get himself a lighter sentence and then get his partners in crimes off the hook. It’s a clever method crime lord Glen Agliotti of South Africa has used before.”

Lutepo has since stressed that he is going to give a detailed account on how individuals and companies benefited from the massive looting.

“I want to level the playing field so that everyone involved should face justice,” he said.

He plans to hold a public conference where he will reveal in detail the way they were defrauding government.

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50 thoughts on “Law expert says Lutepo chooses ‘inappropriate forum for confessions’: Malawi cashgate”

  1. Professional Vendor says:

    I would like to disagree with Prof on Lutepo’s outburst. In a court of law what Lutepo has revealed would be wrapped under wrap, the citizenary would not get the truth. Secondly the way our judiciary system is, both defence and proseutors, they can agree to agree on something to cheat the nation and not reveal the truth. Why am I saying this, there is no justice under the earth, if you are a christian, reflect at the way Jesus was rushed tried and justice was bypassed, and he died just like that. Confessions were made after the damage was already done. Look at Joseph, how he was thrown in jail for the thing he did not do, I can continue quoting. In Malawi, look at Aleke Banda, did the guy really conspired to kill the big man etc etc. So Lutepo has done well in the revelation. How I wish Zodiac gave him a longer time to empty his stomach on this.

  2. Nsena 1 says:

    Munthu uyu n opupwa pachisena we say odzembweneka sadziwa chimene akunena

  3. gladys banda says:

    Lutepo asatipusitse, kodi akanawina amayi akanalapa? Wadziwa liti kuti anaba ndalama ment for the poor?

  4. Kd says:

    “Osward Lutepo your living days are numbered” Mark my words, munthu sangabe ndalama za anthu osauka kenaka kumagula ma Fortuner4D4, Chevrolet-new edition(trail blazer), Merc Benz 200E series, kumanga ma mansion , anthu eni ake akumudzi akufa kuchipatala, then you think Mulungu angakondwe nawe, ufa imfa yowawa ndi mphwiyo,amayi,manondo,raph

  5. DOBO says:

    Pa vunda nkhola mpomwe fisi amalowera. Ndimaona kuti mwini film ndi Mphwyo ndi amai.Koma chifukwa chiani Lutepo.Chifukwa ndi pa vunda nkhola basi.Mphwiyo sangamuthe.

  6. lloyd says:

    sekelani mbava isatisowetse tendele

  7. viktah says:

    Xayambika izo, claims and syphoning. Does NAC has idle money???

  8. MMALAWI says:

    alomwe mumatukwana atumbuka kwabasi kuti akuba apa gulu lamwana mvekha ,pitsala adadutsa kwa getrude.apa atule pasi udindo kuthere zaka 5 aba zingati?nga 5 month aba k15 million musova mwamva ndatopa ine

  9. moffat kuminga says:

    ambwiye che lutepo ngati mwa dyesedwa ndi agaluwa ndiyetu mwanama .inuyo akupanani mabulaziwo nokha olo mungapange bwanji amayi sangalowe kupelekera umboni zoputsa ngati zimenezi

  10. sebeleza says:

    so with all this info tech like cctv, phon logs our justice system cant engage some speed to conlude this drama? how long must malawians wait and suffer? we are the most passive and docile nation on the planet.perhaps we need some shariah to safeguard our taxes. we are not matured yet for democracy we stil need top down management. my nyasa nation!!

  11. Namasina says:

    Iwe galu Lutepo ukufuna kuyipitsa JB Nthawi yonse ija unali kuti akazi onse aja unalowola aja 6 amkakutumanso ndi JB Mwana wa hule iwe bambo ako mbava inu A DPP ndi bomalanu lolowera pa widow lo musamuvere Lutepo mupepera naye ndalama zake zina zili Ku Balaka kwa mkaziwake wang’ono ameneyo .Mumangeni abweze ndalamazo musamange mkazi wamkulu yekhayo ayi kulinso wina wang’ono amangidwe nawo

  12. chatonda says:

    Please let us all, use the polie by arresting the suspects so that they can prove themselves innocent in court. JB should not be perceived angel. Who was the commander of the whole cash gate if not JB?

  13. Ma says:

    So thieves can happily be interviewed and confess on radio eyaa ndinaba abd you conntinue searching for evidence of cashgate??? ZILI KU MALAWI…….

    Lutepo yewmeyo anakuuzani za Kasambara momwe anabera mk112m, then muli RK is a smart lawyer,,,really?

  14. Zuma says:

    A, here just for comments

  15. Nyapapi says:

    I stopped reading anything that mentions Lutepo in it, the guy makes me wanna throe up!

  16. Mr Tidzatsitsa Fertlizer says:

    Mr Lutepo Ku State House Amakatan? Mwina Ndikomwe A Zodiak Anakumana Nawo. Ife Tikufuna Timve Dza 92 Billion Idzi Tamva Ndi Zopanda Mutu.

  17. verson says:

    I feel pity for this lad. He has worked hard in life. He was lucky with the banks and built his empire. But this whole cashgate thing has destroyed him.

  18. patriot says:

    I agree with Professor Chirwa 100% when he says that a financial scandal of this magnitude cannot succeed without the involvement of someone really big politically. That’s exactly what Lutepo also says. True he was/is stupid to have participated in this. The amounts are mind boggling. These guys got carried away and should have known the whole thing would explode at some point.

    But before Lutepo is brushed aside as confused/mad and/or seeking sympathy, just meditate on this. Some political heavyweight masterminded this whole thing and he/she is about to go scot-free to enjoy the billions.

    Again to repeat Professor Chirwa’s words, unless the mastermind is caught and made to face justice, we will have another cashgate not too long from now. He (Prof Chirwa) is also very right in suggesting that more of these conduits should come out like Lutepo has done. Combined, their evidence would carry more weight.

    The donors can see this, most likely they also know just who the mastermind is. They certainly can see that the authorities in the country are not willing to bring the mastermind to book and that’s why they (the donors) are not willing to open the AID taps.

    Whether he meant it or not, Lutepo did express remorse for his part. If, indeed, JB was the final beneficiary, I wonder if she also feels remorseful or if she even sleeps at night (that is if she is human), or at this point it’s “each one for him/herself and God for us all”.

  19. Monrovia says:

    You may trash lutepo but what he has said is naked truth. JB on several occasions said is someone has stolen and gives you are you a thief? She really knew that her boys were stealing and kept on giving her. In court of law, if you benefit from stolen products to your best knowledge, are you not an accomplice? JB apatu zavuta wagwa nayo basi. No matter how much your sympathisers may back you up, I can foresee you being face to face with Lutepo in court. Don’t think Lutepo is mad. he is only saying the truth. Ngakhale muchite sympathise ndi JB, it’s either mumadya nawo or you are just headless. Game on!

  20. Mupenga Ndi Nkhaniyi says:

    Consistent or inconsistent Malawians have heard. an appology is being advanced to the people of this country someone has caused the hardships experienced now by the populance. Thus a fact. It is either Lutepo is lying on Joyce Banda or He just trying to be honest within his conscious.

    Allow Lutepo to Do that Press conference. Bring along all facts Lutepo. It is never too late to speak truth and when it is spoken the hearts of the people feel warm and satisfied.Cleopa said did we not feel warmth in our hearts when Jesus spoke the truth of the Gospel according to the prophets

  21. Master says:

    No truth in this world!

  22. tozer tsono says:

    Man, the guy is good. He is wiggling himself out of both cashgate and the k92 billion DPP gate in broad day light. He just has to appear confused and unreliable.

    Issue a gag order because this is a high stakes case. If he justice system fails, forget donor assistance for the next 10 years! Malawi will collapse.

  23. Namu says:

    Malawi is in a total mess , needs God’s intervention for us to see this clearly. Complications after complications, who can understand this? Please please God, help!

  24. ankhoma says:

    thats cheap propaganda. dpp pliz dont use him. he is nt clever coz has more to answer.

  25. MLOMWE says:

    Can some1 tell me why Zodiak had to interview him for an issue which is in court.btween the two who went to who? i lost trust in ZBS from the election up to now

  26. Bantu says:

    this mbava should be jailed, not only for his crimes, but also for his utter stupidity.

  27. MMALAWI says:

    Kaya muti wapenga kaya watani koma lutepo wakutsekulani mmaso kuti ndalama adatengadi bt zidali zotumidwa nda jb .or mumunena chilungamo chadziwika

    1. chiduma says:

      Ndiye awa akutenga ku NAC awa for Muhlakho and Beam trust activities mutiuza chani?

  28. Nawaoo says:

    Koma yaaaah scandal of the year our beloved country has become the world’s laughing stock…….!

  29. Kachikhoso says:

    Lutepo has gone mad as he seez the world iz getting smaller & smaler on him then he iz takin an exclussive interview while he will be facing court and he is revealin every secret which lastly will be denied in the court may be he is bein squided dy some gvt officialz.

  30. Quantas says:

    Hey guys, all we want to know is where the money us. We will collect it, or sell the assets that were bought with the money. We shall use the money to curtail the consequences of zero aid budget, and we shall prosecute you. Which means you will spend sometime in jail. Simple, so Lutepo why are you making a comedy out of this?

  31. katakwe says:

    So by using a public forum what is mr lutepo trying to achieve? Public sympathy but for what benifit to him? Izi zikuoneka kuti ndizopangana ndithu, no doubt

  32. citizen says:

    kicks of a dying horse…he’s being advised by RK….eventually they all go. you cant fool all the people all the time.

  33. MKWAPU says:

    THIS THIEF SHOULD B LYNCHED
    BURNT! !!

  34. pwt says:

    he is right there no way he could get such amount without apolitical signiture and osadabwa evn single day, maiwo amamutumadi, ankangoti well wishers are buying us vehicles wapereka mau opanda chigamba” state house can not stay wthout cctv go and prove the way it has been done” wat else are u looking? just go the and see for urselves! simple and straight

  35. symon njikho says:

    lutepo wasowa choyakhula thawiyoseyo iye anali kuti komaso kukhoti akalumbira cha

  36. Alungwana says:

    Lutepo is stupid, unreliable, unstable and a big liar who can never be trusted by real people! Why do you want to fool Malawians? You will never succeed.

  37. hotlips says:

    It is still a confession. It will however put the former president and the justice system in a very interesting space. Let us wait and see what pans out.

    1. hotlips says:

      A very good case indeed for channels 170/171 on DSTV!

  38. Sapitwa kakulanye says:

    PP officials know what was going on and I’m sure most benefited from the looting of public money. The same is true with the audit queries in MK92 billion, DPP officials then are fully aware what was happening. The fact is that no body wants to be responsible. For Malawians to get justice and truth the cashgate issue should be handled by foreign judicial experts. People rush to political persecution and character assassination when the truth is to be established. Then let outsiders with no political interest for Malawi handle all the fraud cases suspected to have been committed by these people who ruled or are ruling Malawi. The suffering caused by these thefts is unbearable to many Malawians yet those who caused it are enjoying within and outside Malawi.

  39. Dzukani a Malawi. says:

    Munthu ukakhala pabwino ngati ndalama zakusowa umazungulira mutu monga wachitira Lutepo kusewera ndi Boma sibwino wawona wafinyidwa munthu opusa ngati iwe Lutepo shut up your mouth. ukanakhala kuti siunagidwe bwezi ukuulula zimenezi ? WANYA.

  40. Taweni says:

    Lutepo is trying to survive the litigations. And govt is now under pressure to convince donors to release funds and they(govt) might be trying their best to drag as many people as possible into the tussle. And their cash cow happens to be no other than JB. But their main striker seems to be mentally deranged at least this far.

    Citizen

  41. VILLAGE PROFFESOR says:

    Lutepo shud have hired the learned proffesor in the first place.

  42. innocent says:

    Since the day this was discovered i cry when i see the PAYE on my payslip every month. Don’t cheat me African and Malawi government no matter who is running it, ruin your own country and do not care!

  43. Lutepo is totally confused. He knows the world is getting smaller each day and is seeking public symphathy. This was a planned scheme to win elections. Some PP officials and top government officers are invilved in all this. Lutepo did not sign any cheques but a government officer did that. Please we should not forget that most the houses we see in Lilongwe havs been built using stolen money. Go to area 43, area 47, area 49, area 25, area 6 etc. Where did the people get the money to build such big and beautiful houses. Politicians know what was happening and were part of the scheme and system.

  44. typical of a hardcore mbava,he wants to be declared unreliable,hostile witness,nxt timva kuti lutepo osward declares temporally insanity,whatever&whoever u implicate u participated in stealing our hard earned tax payers money,ulowa pakona basi.

  45. Wanex banda says:

    Waiting for the press conference but when Mr man?

    1. chiduma says:

      What for?

  46. Timothy says:

    Lutepo is just trying to survive! It is the stupidity of this so called DPP gvt and its “top” legal minds that buffles me. How can they fail to see through the tactics of this “main state witness”. What angle are they even going to use? I mean even Kaphale himself trushed Lutepo’s evidence once. Makes me mad!!
    Unless, conviction of suspects is not their main goal, but just destroying the oponents image! That will make sense a lot, wont it?

  47. tyr says:

    Lutepo is born again now

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