Lilongwe Magistrate Court has sentenced Malawi Congress Party (MCP) former deputy director of youth Wyson Zinyemba Soko to seven years imprisonment for theft and money laundering for his involvement in the ongoing financial scandal dubbed “Cashgate” that saw millions of dollars looted from the impoverished country’s government.
Senior resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa sentenced Soko to three and half years on the first count of theft and four years on the second count of money laundering.
Magistrate Chirwa said both counts will run consecutively.
Soko was found guilty and convicted after was paid K40.9 million ($90 000) through his company Watipaso General Dealers from the Ministry of Tourism vote when the company had no contract with government, as testified by various government officials during trial.
“The accused participated actively in defrauding government,” noted Chirwa.
Chirwa also trashed Soko’s assertions during his testimony that a Godfrey Banda used his company and the money belonged to Banda because he gave “illogical and emotional” answers when cross-examined on the particulars of the Banda.
“I found the statements very strange and entirely unbelievable,” Chirwa said.
His lawyer Henry Kadzakumanja pleaded for non-custodial sentence.
But state prosecutor hired for cashgate cases, Kamudoni Nyasulu said non- sentence would be “shockingly inappropriate” and could cause Malawians to lose faith in their legal system.
He said the court need to “send a message to the public” through stiffer sentence.
“A suspended sentence would not reflect the seriousness of the offense looking at the amount of money involved. Only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate,” Magistrate Chirwa said.
Soko becomes another statistic to be convicted in many Cashgate cases currently before the courts.
Last year a secretary in Malawi’s tourism department Teresa Namathanga Senzani was sentenced to three years in jail.
Unlike Senzani who pleaded guilty and gave back the K63 million she stole, Soko did not show such remorse.
The prosecution led by Kamudoni Nyasulu is expected to make an application to recover the K40 million from Soko through other meansFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :