Lutepo speaks out on Malawi cashgate: I am not a fugitive

Businessman Osward Lutepo, who left Malawi at a time his name featured prominently in the Cashgate scandal , says that he isn’t a “fugitive who is willfully evading the probe” and that he is set to jet back home.

Lutepo, 35, has been strongly alleged to be part of syndicates that have been gluttonously siphoning billions from government coffers.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times on his Malawian roaming mobile phone, Lutepo said he was not on the run.

“I am in Far East. But will be back in Malawi in few days from now,”  said Lutepo who is the ruling People’s Party  (PP) deputy director of recruitment and sensitisation.

Lutepo: I am coming back to Malawi

Lutepo: I am coming back to Malawi

“My absence from Malawi is for genuine reasons.  I had scheduled business ventures in the Far East. Actually it was going to be a lengthy period for me abroad but I have decided to cut it short and return to Malawi and cooperate with those investigating the financial scandal,” he said.

Lutepo also said he was sad that people are connecting his political affiliation to his business empire.

He is PP’s Kasungu North parliamentary candidate in next year’s elections

“I am sad that people are connecting my business to politics. Business started first and politics started later.

“Politics is just to serve the people while my business is the life line,” he said.

Lutepo said some detractors of government want to use the cashgate scandal  “to gain political mileage.”

Quizzed if he was afraid of an arrest, Lutepo said: “ I am not.  I will fully cooperate with investigators.”

Meanwhile, published reports in the Weekend Nation indicates  that of the 20 frozen bank accounts held at First Merchant Bank (FMB)in the wake of cashgate crackdown, eight either wholly belong to Lutepo as an individual or he jointly owns them with partners.

The remaining 14 firms belong to various entrepreneurs, the paper reported.

According to information contained in letters that ACB director Justice Rezine Mzikamanda has sent to various banks, Lutepo’s two personal bank accounts, both under his name, are held at FMB.

The paper reported details of the other companies—according to information from the Registrar General—that Lutepo has business interests in and which the ACB is investigating are as follows:

International Procurement Services (IPS) with registration number 87745 and Osward Fywell Gibson Lutepo as the owner.

O and G Investments, with registration number 95303 and Osward Lutepo as the owner.

Woget Industries, whose registered owners are Osward and Getrude Lutepo.

Heart Freight (Reg No: 65453) with Osward Fywell Gideon Lutepo as the owner.

The Spare Giants and Stationers (Reg No: 89613) with Osward Fywell Gideon Lutepo and Getrude Kapesa Lutepo as owners.

At National Bank of Malawi (NBM), ACB has frozen accounts for eight companies as follows:

Kanengo Building Contractors (Reg N: 6616) belonging to Ndaona Satema and Leah Satema.

Visual Impact (Reg No: 56727) belonging to Tressa A Lumbeje Namathanga (Mrs. Senzani), the principal secretary in the Ministry of Tourism arrested this week in connection with the Capital Hill cash-gate.

Walusako General Dealers (Reg No: 120328) belonging to Zimukulire Mwenechanya and Julia Banda.

Clive Engineering Co. (Reg No: 87732) owned by Dennis Mwezi Mhango.

Zozama Civil Engineering Contractor Reg No: 59723 belonging to Mkhuzo James Chirwa.

Sky Civil Engineering (Reg No: 79644) owned by Steven Golden Mwenitete.

Vhaima General Dealers (Reg No: 137432) belonging to Asif Abdul Razzak.

Megan Constructions (Reg No: 61646) owned by Doreen Nyirenda and  Khumbo Mkandawire.

At FDH Bank, the ACB has frozen the following accounts:

Stadal Building Contractors (Reg No: 94555) belonging to Stafford Mpoola and Dalitso Mpoola

Faith Construction (Reg : 86932) owned by Angella Katengeza.

Protem Civil Contractors (Reg No: 129701) run by Cecilia Mervis Ng’ambi.

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