State prosecutors have initiated the process of exploring the legal grounds to discharge the businessperson Osward Lutepo implicated to have had a hand in the plot to shoot budget director Paul Mphwiyo, following the key witness withdrawing his sworn affidavit in court.
According to court documents sourced by Nyasa Times, an affidavit sworn in by one suspect Charles Chalunda of Private Bag 67, Blantyre has been withdrawn and Chalonda has since been convicted.
In the withdrawn affidavit, Chalunda states: “In July 2013, I was approached by Macdonald Kumwembe in Blantyre to assist him in executing a plan to steal money from someone in Lilongwe.
“In August 2013 we hired a car and got our friend Robert Difuliya to drive us to Lilongwe. When we arrived in Lilongwe we met Oswald Lutepo at Bwandilo in Area 47, we got into Osward Lutepo’s motor vehicle, a red Nissan Pathfinder. Macdonald Kumwembe and Osward Lutepo started discussing what we were supposed to do.
“During the discussions, I discovered that what Osward Lutepo wanted us to do was for us to kill someone. Osward Lutepo gave us a photograph of the person we were supposed to kill and that person being Paul Mphwiyo.”
An exhibit of the photograph of their meeting was submitted to court.
Lutepo, according to the affidavit, gave K150, 000 to buy a gun that they would use in murder and K600, 000 as part payment. The agreement amount for the job was K6 million.
“The plan was to attack Paul Mphwiyo on his way back to his house.”
However, the suspect says they failed to attack Mphwiyo of the planned after getting K1 million from Lutepo because a police officer a Chilinda had seen them sharing the money.
He also said after a week of the aborted job, he heard Mphwiyo had been shot but he was not involved and the gun he bought “was not used in the shooting.”
According to the affidavit, all the time the suspects met Lutepo, he was unaccompanied.
The affidavit was signed before a commissioner of oath, Mphatso Kachule.
But Chalunda has withdrawn the affidavit, saying he lied to court.
Director of Public Prosecution, represented by lawyer Mbweza brought Chalunda before Chief Resident Magistrate Kayira under criminal case no. 92 of 2015.
He was charged on two counts of perjury where Chalunda pleaded guilty and was convicted on each count, The court however gave him 12 months suspended sentence on a charge that attracts 7 years jail term.
Since the withdraw of the affidavit by Chalunda, the case of Lutepo in the shooting of Mphwiyo has collapsed and prosecutors will let him be discharged.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Director of Public Prosecution Mrs Mary Kachale persuaded Chalunda to withdraw the Affidavit that implicates Lutepo and instead put Pika Manondo’s name in a new statement that the DPP had prepared for him to sign.
As part of the deal, the State has offered to be paying for his rentals in a new home in Mangochi and upkeep allowance up to the end of the case. He was told that one Jesse Mussa had benefitted under such generous scheme.
Chalunda is a notorious convict and police records show he has several convictions to his credit.
Currently, Lutepo is under a mental examination to determine if he is medically fit for trial in the various charges he is facing which include theft, money laundering and conspiracy to commit murder.
Lutepo is regarded a chief cashgate suspect and has been making media confession on his wrong doing.
A forensic audit report into the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill due to abuse of public finance management tools dubbed ‘Cashgate’ established that K24 billion was stolen between April and September 2013. However, Cashgate dates back to 2005 when the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis) was launched.
Through various means, Lutepo allegedly got the second highest payments on the list of individuals amounting to K4.4 billion (US$9.8 million).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :