Malawi cashgate sentence stir debate: CSOs rebuke jail term, ACB satisfied

Civil society activists and Malawians on social media on Tuesday called for sentencing guidelines on the cases in the infamous cashgate scandal, which led to the suspension of foreign aid to the country following  three year and nine month jail term slapped to former  senior official.

High Court in Lilongwe slapped a Treza Namathanga Senzani, a former principal secretary in the Tourism Ministry, with a three-year-and-nine-month jail term, the first such sentence in the infamous cashgate scandal.

Deputy Director of Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau Reyneck Matemba said Tuesday’s sentence will send out a strong message to all those involved in the scandal.

Conivicted cashgate prisoner Senzani enroute to Maula

Conivicted cashgate prisoner Senzani enroute to Maula

“In our submission to the court, we asked that the offender should serve a sentence, we realize that she had cooperated with the courts by returning the money and also pleading guilty, all these are very welcome but we are looking at the gravity of the case and the consequences the country is going through as a result of her theft,” said Matemba.

Senzani had pleaded guilty to the charges and gave back to the government her house estimated at about $157,000 and refunded the difference in cash.

ACB deputy director said there was an indication that more suspects could come forward to plead guilty, following the example set by Senzani.

But the Civil Society Grand Coalition (CSGC) has described three-year custodial sentence as “inadequate” and will not deter would be offenders.

“People out there are suffering because of cashgate and to hear that Senzani will be in jail for three years is just unfair to the multitude,” said Lucky Mbewe, Coalition’s spokesperson.

Mbewe also wondered why the courts give longer sentences to small cases as compared to bigger cases.

“If someone steals a chicken he or she can be sentenced up to five years but when it comes to money laundering crimes such as the infamous cashgate you will find the same courts giving a three year sentence,” he said.

Malawians on social websites and also comments flooded on Nyasa Times article about the sentence drew rebukes of the Tuesday’s sentence, with many believe that the convict deserved life jail term for the charges.

In Malawi, theft and money laundry charges carry a maximum of five and ten years respectively.

Some 60 cashgate cases are in the courts, and this week Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu indicated  in parliament that more people involved in the plunder will be arrested include some “masters and kingpins”.

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46 thoughts on “Malawi cashgate sentence stir debate: CSOs rebuke jail term, ACB satisfied”

  1. Paul says:

    Kwa ine wakumudzi ndingoti kaya.

  2. Harrison says:

    My views are exactly of that Liwombo man. I can work for 20 years and get a pension of less than three million. Why don’t I steal huge amounts of money

  3. All that noise! Assumimg it were your mother how would you feel? Mai ameneyu wabvomera mlandu osabvutitsa akhoti ndi anaba ndalama. A jaji tacepetsaniko kuti zikhale zaka ziwiri zokha chonde Ndagwira mwendo!

  4. What can we do anthuwa akuziwana actualy ku court nde kuli corruption ya nyo even the current government akuziwapo kanthu sikuti Namatanga anaba ndalamazo muzaka ziwiri mutafufuza kuti nyumba anamanga liti? we know some ps nyumba alinazo zimaonekeratu ndalama zokuba.

  5. Walalawalala says:

    a malawi kupepera,mayiyu anaba ndalama zambiri,nchifukwa anavomera mulandu wandalama zochopa,wakupusisani !

  6. Chalume says:

    I thought sentencing would have also considered all the innocent people who have lost lives and better public services due to Cashgate? Nanga chonchi, where is justice if you convict a person of such a serious crime only to 3 years in prison? And, I think Reyneck Matemba is really true to his name…matemba! And he thinks like one too! I have just lost faith in ACB, as much as I have lost hope in our justice system.

  7. ray says:

    if thats the sentence given, why do theives that steal mere house hold goods get longer sentences?

  8. gaza says:

    anakwera motar yabwino guys

  9. Likoma Economist where are you right now ? in front of your computer and you want to school us on how to handle and react to the sentencing you should be the first one to be seen protesting on the streets we don’t want cowards suggesting solutions here we need real strong actors not talking machines

  10. Baba wa Boyi says:

    Is it me being too critical?

    I do not see the point for the first paragraph in this story. What is it saying? I have read it more times than i can mention, thinking it cant be.

    If this was a politicians speach, Nyasa Times would be ollover them like a rash, clean your house NT, its bad enough the comments you allow on this page, must we also suffer meaningless paragraphs?

  11. Likoma Economist says:

    The question is: what are we as Malawians, the victims of cashgate going to do about this nosense? Mourning on facebook is not going to help. In other countries by now people would be in the streets registering their anger, telling the govt, judges, etc that the people will not stomach legal donkey crap.
    Malawians it is time you woke up from your 50 year slumber. Stop this stupidity of complaining and mourning like kids. BE MAN ENOUGH. GO OUT THERE AND FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS.

    1. rosie says:

      you are damn right!!! We should take it to the streets!!

  12. gmes says:

    kuba ndalama sikoopsa eti? ndiphulitse langa bomba.

  13. ganie says:

    corruption will not end if this the judgement is finally considered like that’ first think of how many Malawians were affected with the issue and how this country has been affected in some areas’ the judgement aint fair something big must be done than the 3yrs your talking of

  14. anonymous says:

    Thats good let the law plays its role

  15. Alungwana says:

    I think our constitution needs further ammendiment. There is no life imprisonment sentence for money laundering!

  16. wisestfool says:

    Mbuzi za ma Judge a ku Malawi!! Zimphumphu basi!!

  17. Nkhondomukaya says:

    I am just sorry for her being a mother.In prison for three years is just too much for her.

  18. Mwenyemanzi (Nkhotakhota) says:

    For having co-operated with the courts and paid the money back I think the sentence is rather harsh. A year will be fine.

  19. ACHEWA says:

    The sentence itself undermines corruption and cash gate.

  20. gwamus says:

    koma thako lili kumbuyo kwa galimotolo eish! who is that one? kkkkkkk

  21. mphida khunyeliwa says:

    zimaoneokeratu

  22. chaku says:

    CSOS sometimes are questionable the way they portray their well thoughtful opinions, one can easily deduce which side the boss of a particular body is to the extent that it devalues the whole purpose of speaking for the people

  23. Ngoni Ruler says:

    Our laws needs 2 be revised cz as of nw they a in favour of cashgaters smone stealing huge amount of money 4rom government coffers cn nt be charged three yrs,we a nt serious my fellow malawians.Senzani amafunika life jail sentences the gravity of crime is same as killing,she killed alot of malawians,2 our judicially do nt be bias kutengera kuti ndi abale awo a akuti ayi.

  24. Namwera says:

    Amangeni alomwe awa kuba too much

  25. golden eye says:

    Kundende kumakhala amphawi osaowa abale awo oti ahonge..munthu wolemera sakhala kundende ndipo apolisi amakhala anzake..amatchedwa bwana ali nkaidi. palibe chachilendo apa….akufuna ndalama zibwerere mu system basi…sakumangana awa…nanji mzimayi …tidikire tione tonde akanjatidwa amulamula zaka zingati?

  26. hotlips says:

    Mulhakho! At it again.

  27. Wezi says:

    Can we please call government to close ALL prosecutions on Cash gate because it is a bitter mockery to Malawians. Malawians must just pay for the actions of every civil servant who decides to dupe them. They are the cushion for all sins of government and political prayers. Our courts are a disappointment to Malawians.

    Lets go back to traditional chiefs courts perhaps we can get some meaningful sentences otherwise what is being experienced by the rural population is never felt by the judges with their fat salaries

  28. Collins says:

    we’ve seen these courts fooling the poor,slapping us with 9 yrs custodian sentence for stealing a bike,and the likes of namathanga 3yrs is enough and needs to appeal.next time we will have the law in our own hands.

  29. Gonapamuhanya says:

    Justice system of South Malawi is a joke! The message being sent to cashgaters is that it is ok to cashgate, yu just get a slap on the wrist. Shupiti. Better to secede. In the North Senzani would have gotten minimun 10 year sentence.

  30. Bongololo says:

    The guy who steals a chicken in Ndirande gets about 6 months. So the sentence for stealing millions in government funds should be about 15 years in addition to paying the monies back. This woman is getting off easy. This is not justice!

  31. munyasa says:

    food for thought……..no this is malawi olemerwa amapezanso mtendere even in prison…. Its just in principal that shes gone to prison but as she will be enjoying eating good food nice beddings and what have tou but someone to steal drugs worthy ten thosand will be jailed six years …..laws must be repealed….woba nkhuku azikakolopa muzipatala kwa mwezi sazapangaso

  32. Munyanane says:

    Malawi wa lero oba mbuzi 10 yrs pomwe oba ndalama za nkhaninkhani miyezi yochepa Ambuye onetsani ukulu wanu

  33. John says:

    Yes as much as three years is way to little for these evils, I still find solace in the fact that she paid back the money! Where do you think Lutepo and Ralph will get the BILLIONS they stole? No wonder they are selling themselves to APM now to turn state witness. Now thats a luxurious business- steal from gvt and turn state witness, you end up a billionaire. Those are situations you need to be complaining about. Just wait and see what will happen to your money that these two stole, you wont even see a cent and they will not go to jail, thats justice, Malawi style!

  34. Tengupenya says:

    For starters, a custodial sentence is a good start in the sentencing. But three steps back: Was she not a civil servant? did she not commit theft? Why was she not charged with theft by a civil servant which has stiffer penalty on conviction?

  35. MAFFUMU says:

    Mamillion mamillion abedwa fine yake ikukhala zaka zosakwana 5 koma akadakhala kapuntha buwe ngati ineyo ndaba mbuzi ya 12 000 kwacha mukadamva akunditchaja 7 years
    its not fair #KUBA_NDI_KUBA_BASI_SIKUYANA_MWANDIFIKA_APA

  36. Goodson Zimveka says:

    Sorry

  37. gulukunyinda says:

    3 yrs of which she may serve 1 yr is to much for someone who was living in luxury. She cannot handle it, feel sorry for her

  38. If these are sentences that cash gate convicts will be getting, then am afraid, theft will ploliferate in this country as this is not deterrent enough. I wonder what happened or how much money changed hands in this case. Even the vehicle that carried the convict to maula looks like an executive vehicle, and i wouldnt be surprised if senzani will be getting executive service in jail. Was the vehicle in the picture indeed carrying senzani to jail or to some hotel in town ?

    1. DAUD says:

      aim not 2 kill bt 2 teach.if he/she is a killer shd b killed.

    2. eye eye says:

      Differential treatment..others are thrown to the back of a landrover handcuffed……
      Animal farm @ work..more equal than others…thats part of life unfortunately..justice can sometimes be unjust

    3. kodi says:

      I am also wondering why she was not under police custody after sentencing, Ndiye kuti anapita ku nyumba kukatenga zofunda ndi zakudya eti? koma wagonadi ku Maula ameneyu? Can the media investigate please.

  39. Mapulanga says:

    This is Anna Kachikhos sister, what did you expect

  40. Kenkkk says:

    With good character she will not even finish 3 years. She could be out next year!! Also can easily fake sickness and she can Be out next month!!!

  41. Liwombo says:

    Civil servants wanting to venture into business have now been shown the easiest way to get a loan from government, interest-free. Simply steal K63 million from government, use it for business trading, or loan it out to other businesses, and when caught, simply return the principal amount, but keep the interest and profits. I bet you that you will have K30 million plus and can find it after 3 years in jail than working for 20 years in government, but only get K3 million in pension.

    1. Mneneli Wonyenga says:

      Mwalemba odala. I am planning to try this route, sound appetising sheeeh!!!!

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