Malawi prosecutors seek stiff sentence for Lutepo: Cashgate convict asks for suspended sentence

Prosecutors in the cashgate case involving convicted businessman Oswald Lutepo has appealed to Judge Redson Kapindu to infuse stiff sentence to the convict dismissing mitigation factors by his defence lawyer seeking a lenient one year jail but suspended.

 Lutepo speaks with his lawyer Oswald Mtupila at High Court in Zomba

Lutepo speaks with his lawyer Oswald Mtupila at High Court in Zomba

Lutepo’s lawyer, Oswald Mtupila, on Monday pleaded for leniency, before Judge Kapindu at High Court registry in Zomba.

He told the court that Lutepo took a “bold decision” to plead guilty on charges of conspiracy to defraud government and money laundering of K4.2 billion ($9.3 million) between April and September 2013,

He asked the court to consider giving Lutepo a maximum of 12 months imprisonment with a suspended sentence.

“The convict has engaged the state in a view of making restitution hence court should be lenient with sentence,” Mtupila submitted before the court.

“Lutepo didn’t waste court’s time, money and he cooperated. Court should take that into consideration when passing sentence,” said the defendant’s lawyer.

But State prosecutors disagreed with Lutepo’s lawyer of lenient sentence.

Deputy Director of Anti Corruption Bureau, Reyneck Matemba told the court that 12mnths imprisonment and suspended sentence would be “an insult “to Malawians

“Malawians are suffering, donors no longer funding budget thanks to cashgate which Lutepo took part in.

“He was rich and comfortable but wanted to reap where he didn’t sow He should have known that crime doesn’t pay,” Matemba told the court.

Director of Public Prosecution Mary Kachale acknowledged mitigation factors but pointed out that though first offender, the State spent a lot of money on him.

“State spent money on hiring a psychologist,” she said.

On restitution, the DPP noted that Lutepo agrees that he took part in the embezzlement scandal.

“Lutepo was not only used. If he had refused his clients could somehow not have successes in stealing money from government,” said Kachale.

She added: “The fact that his companies were used to steal money from govt making Malawians suffer this is like armed robbery without guns.

“The fact the he was a billionaire already shows that he was greedy. He should have been content with what he had.”

Kachale said on money laundering maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment but can be give nine year. On conspiracy to defraud government, maximum sentence is three can be given one year.

She said Lutepo should get a minimum of 10 years jail.

But Mtupila pleaded with the court that it should not give harsh punishment because of public outcry.

“Many people he supported will suffer and this will do no good to nation,” he said.

“He has confessed would not do it again and restituted all he had that was associated with cashgate,” pleaded Mtupila.

Mtupila said Lutepo is only 37 years, young and at prime productive age.

Lutepo wants to restitute his Woget Industries Limited, currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, which the State had initially targeted for confiscation.

Woget is a subject of controversy following huge discrepancies that have resulted from valuations conducted separately by the State (at K293 million) and the defence at K1.427 billion (excluding the land on which it is planted).

Other assets of Lutepo, among them, International Procurement Services, O and G Construction Limited and Naming’omba Tea Estate

Judge Kapindu has since adjourned to September 5 for sentencing.

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Hoitty
Guest

It’s sad to see all of Lutepo’s wealth taken away from him because he stole 3.4billion. This is sad because out of that amount he only benefited 10%. He should’ve just paid restitution through one company. You people who took the 90% that Lutepo is paying back, how do you sleep at night knowing someone is paying for the money you are using to pay hotel bills outside this country and buying air tickets for globe trotting. Ndikunena iwe Mphwiyo ndi Joyce

Manyaziulibe
Guest

My question is simple what is minimum sentences for cashgate offender ? Don’t be biased when passing these judgements or else all civil servants whole stole government money and are linguishing in jails of Malawi should be pardoned.
Some of these straight forward cases would would be done better by our chiefs in our villages than the current courts

Innocent Chiyenda
Guest

Lutepo is not sick, he is just pretending. when he is at home in KU he moves without any problems. zoti amagwiritsa ntchito wheel chair timangoonera Ku khoti. why should Malawians be fooled like this? They should give him stiff sentence that’s all.

ochewa
Guest

Tidzawitcha ngati mungampatse suspended sentence. Mtsonkho wanga sangadye motero

Lovemaniac 91
Guest

Jst giv him death sentence, akapume! If he is given 1yr, when he comes ppo shud kil this Cowswald, even mob justice wil be used. Sitiyiwala!

Charles Mhango
Guest

whether 10 yrs or 1 yr to me no different at all, becoz the money has already gone. And him is already a billionaire.

peter
Guest

If Lutepo is given a lenient sentence the only other option remaining with patriotic Malawians is use of mob justice!

Mwethu
Guest

After being given a suspended sentence you will hear that Mr Lutepo had a miraculous healing after touching his TV screen on Emmanuel TV channel and that he is now able to walk and his mental capacity is also normal!!!
Please our judges listen to our DPP, the only DPP so far who has shown us that there are indeed lawyers who aren’t crooked afterall.

ISIS
Guest

Whether you give him one year or ten years nothing will change in terms of my welfare as I am still being ruled by clueless dunder-heads who have stolen more than Lutepo

Backilie Buluzi
Guest
I remember my friend who was a public servant and was given 14 years for stealing K100,000. What about billions which Lutepo stole? You plead guilty when you know you cannot win a case. It’s not a question of wasting the court’s time. We pay or deducted tax and that tax should be protected like a help zebra from lions. Malawi is like an endanger species. We are an endangered country that depends on donors. Even dönor money is tax payers money. The Lewis Hamilton, Rooneys, Wengers, Roger Federers, Bryan Adams, Boni Jovi, Serena Williams etc are deducted taxes and… Read more »
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