Lutepo pays K50 million, walks out of jail: Kasambara out

Businessman, Oswald Lutepo has Tuesday morning walked out of Zomba Maximum Prison after paying the K50 million (US$125 000) bail bond set by the Zomba High Court last week Friday.

Lutepo was released together with former Justice Minister, Ralph Kasambara.

He was granted bail on Friday but remained in prison as he was failing to raise the demanded K50 million. He hinted of appealing at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre against the amount, which was described, as ‘excessive and prohibitive’.

While Kasambara, accused of attempted murder of Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo, appealed against a High Court ruling of November 21 that granted him bail, but to be operational after 30 days to allow the State to conclude investigations.

Lutepo: Out of jail

Kasambara: Out

In his ruling, Supreme Court of Appeal judge Anaclet Chipeta agreed with the defence team that Director of Public Prosecutions Bruno Kalemba did not provide any evidence of the likelihood that, if released on bail, Kasambara would attempt to influence or intimidate witnesses

But he was forced to remain in custody another night following refusals by by the top prosecutor to participate in the process of verifying sureties and went on to order police officers to refuse service of any court order.

Malawi Prison Service Spokesperson, Evance Phiri confirmed to Nyasa Times in an interview that the two have been released from prison Tuesday morning.

Lutepo’s lawyer, Jai Banda refused to comment on how his client managed to raise the money, which he once complained to be prohibitive, saying “I have no comment on that”.

But Nyasa Times verified reports indicate that Lutepo was bailed out  Monday evening by the ruling Peoples Party (PP) top officials.  Two of the officials are said to have contributed K10 million each.

Two of his sureties, Higer Mkandawire and a Mr. Mwale paid K2.5m (US$6 250) cash each.

Lutepo who handed himself to the police on November 6, 2013, is being charged with theft contrary to Section 278 of the Penal Code and money laundering contrary to Section 35 (1)(c) of the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Act.

He is a one of the suspects in what is now called Capital Hill cash gate where billions of kwacha in public funds were looted. He was on Interpol wanted list before handing himself to police.

On Friday, Judge Justice Godfrey Mwase imposed strict conditions to the bail, which include declaration of his wealth and assets within 14 days and that he should not sell or dispose of any property without the knowledge of the court.

The Judge also ordered to surrender his travel documents and imposed with a reporting routine to Police on Monday and Friday before 3pm every week.

He has also been ordered not to disturb peace or investigations, not leave the country without permission through inter-parties hearing and not leave Blantyre without police knowledge.

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