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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Kwa ine wakumudzi ndingoti kaya.


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


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!

Mbowe Mulambia

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.


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


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.


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


anakwera motar yabwino guys

Uchitsiru Sasekana

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

Baba wa Boyi

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?

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