In the ruling which was delivered by Judge Redson Kapindu of the High Court registry in Zomba on in sentencing cashgate convict Oswald Lutepo to 11 years jail term, he pointed out that the ‘chief cashgater’ was faking mental illness and is “marginally remorseful.”
Citing psychiatric experts report, Judge Kapindu pointed out that Lutepo is pretending to be mentally ill “and I so find.”
He said psychiatrics had concluded that Lutepo did not have any form of mental disorder and that he is indeed “malingers”.
Judge Kapindu said convict Lutepo is “consciously feigning psychotic and other symptoms of mental disorder for secondary gain.”
He also said an opinion of medical experts suggest Lutepo –who is using a wheelchair – is not physically challenged but pretending to have a mobility disorder.
Lutepo, who had previously pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of K4.2 billion (about $9.3 million), wants to appeal against the sentence at the Supreme Court.
But Judge Kapindu observed that Lutepo is only “marginally remorseful” to the cashgate scandal had had a “bad impact on Malawi society .
Citing Professor Wasik in his ruling, Kapindu said clearly a guilty plea may sometimes reflect remorse but offenders who plead guilty are often doing do for “pragmatic reasons” and may not be remorseful at all.
Kapindu said the impression he got from Lutepo is that he does not truly appreciate the magnitude of the damage that he had caused to society with his looting.
“It seems he views himself more as a victim who was used by other people to commit these crimes and he is not fully reconciled to accepting that he personally caused great harm to the Malawi society,” said Judge Kapindu.
He classified Lutepo as “marginally remorseful.”
Judge Kapindu said Lutepo was “clearly a major player” in this grave economic crime against the people of Malawi “although he claims that he was used as conduit rather than a principal.”
Lutepo was given eight years for money laundering and three years for conspiracy to defraud the state due to “the exceptional gravity of the offences and the gigantic sums of money involved,” Judge Kapindu said.
“I have found no single case of such huge proportions in Malawi,” he added.
Cashgate scandal, which originated in 2005, prompted foreign donors — who provide around 40 percent of Malawi’s budget — to pull the plug on aid worth around $150 million.
The Judge, however, gave credit to Lutepo for providing the state with “helpful cooperation.”
He, nonetheless, said information Lutepo provided will be “quarantines from the public record” saying it is up to the State to take further action on it.
So far there have been ten convictions, Lutepo is the eighth to be sentenced, while Caroline Savala and Leonard Kalonga await sentencing.
Of those already sentenced, Lutepo has received the longest jail term while the first one to be jailed Tressa Namathanga Senzani got three years.
Lutepo was arrested in 2013 on suspicion of pocketing money from government coffers through ghost companies which did not provide any services to the state.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :