Chief Cashgate convict Oswald Lutepo has appealed against the 11 year jail sentence handed down to him by the Zomba High Court on conspiracy to defraud government and money laundering, Nyasa Times has established.
In September, Judge Redson Kapindu imposed a stiff jail term on Lutepo who was convicted on his own plea of guilty for defrauding the public K4.2 billion.
However, Lutepo was not satisfied with the sentence and decided to file an appeal through his lawyer, Oswald Mtupila.
Mtupila filed for the appeal after studying the official judgment.
He told the press last month that going by what transpired in court, he was certain that there were some areas which provided room for appeal.
“Much as the judge tried to justify his reasoning on making such a harsh punishment on Lutepo, we are of the strong view that the principles regarding sentencing were not strictly followed. And perhaps the justifications which might be there were just used in a way to make harsh punishment for him,” argued Mtupila.
Mtupila said was optimistic of winning the appeal.
“The confidence comes because the law is settled; we follow principles which were already settled some time back through the doctrine of precedence. So, if you follow precedence sometimes you can predetermine what the outcome of the matter will be. Like cases will be judged likely and should be judged likely, of course, with a little bit of departure maybe from the law,” he said.
“Going by some laid down principles like mitigating factors, and aggravating factors and then sentencing, I think the judge might have missed some points of law here and we are going to look at that in more detail and then determine how we can frame our grounds for appeal”.
In his initial reaction soon after being sentenced last month, Lutepo vowed to appeal against the imposed jail term, arguing he was betrayed by the State and that Judge Kapindu disregarded his positive testimony in the trial.
Lutepo accused the Judge of concentrating on the negative aspects of his case.
The High Court slapped Lutepo, 37, with 11 years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) for conspiracy to defraud government and money laundering K4.2 billion.
Conspiracy to defraud government attracted a maximum sentence of three years IHL while money laundering attracted a maximum penalty of 10 years IHL.
On the first count, both the State and defence wanted one year jail term, but the judge decided otherwise due to the gravity of the case and the suffering it has inflicted on the society.
On the second count, Justice Kapindu slapped Lutepo with eight years IHL, considering that convict cooperated with the State in giving information and that he restituted his property worth K370 million.
Kapindu said he handed down the stiff punishment on Lutepo considering the seriousness of the case. The sentences ran consecutively effective June 11 2015 when Lutepo was convicted.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :