Raw deal on Malawi ‘cashgatress’: Tenthani’s Muckraking on Sunday

“So they want us to think stupid; So they want us  to feel stupid; That’s how they want us to be” –Burning Spear

I think Reyneck Matemba, the Anti-Corruption Bureau Deputy Director, has a lot of explanation to do for letting ‘Cashgatress’ Theresa Namathanga Senzani get off with a mere slap on the wrist for stealing a whopping K63 million from our already gaping coffers.

Namathanga Senzani:  First cashgate convict

Namathanga Senzani: First cashgate convict

I mean, even if the disgraced former Secretary for Tourism is making feeble attempts to appeal against the very light three year-sentence she got, I think in her heart of hearts she knows she has literally gotten away with murder.

But, to be fair to the Cashgatress, it was not her fault that the prosecution was so inept it charged her with mere common theft – what they call ‘theft simpliciter’ in legalspeak. If Ivy Kamanga was of the ‘scary’ sentences ilk of the Nyakwawa Usiwausiwas of this world, the maximum she could have given the first ‘cashgate’ convict was five years, still light considering the millions she stole and the debilitating effects her ‘cashgate’ visited upon the 15 million of us.

In trying to lamely bedazzle us in the legal mish-mash, Matemba suggests that the ACB charged Senzani with simple theft – not theft by public servant – because she could still have dipped her fingers in the public kitty even if she was not a public servant. What balderdash is that? Is that not the very reason to slap her with a charge that could yield her the most ‘proceeds’?

Matemba has the audacity to lecture us that the learned clique he belongs to weighed the evidence before them before considering which charge to proffer. Well and good. But what other ‘evidences’ Matemba was privy to beyond the fact that Senzani was a public officer and, being the technical head in her ministry, had the final say on who is paid what and for what reason?

 

And, most importantly, in between, she paid a fat cheque to her company fully knowing it never rendered any goods or services to government.

Unless he lied to Judge Ivy, that is what Matemba told the court. Ok, ok, he can dismiss the Muckraker as not so learned in law, but even Judge Ivy herself mocked the prosecution team why it preferred the lesser ‘theft simpliciter’ charge to the more serious ‘theft by public servant’. Is he saying, like the Muckraker, the judge needs some Law 101 as well?

In case he has forgotten his Penal Code, let me remind the learned ACB supremo that the maximum one can get for ‘theft simpliciter’ – even from the ‘scary’ Nyakwawa Usiwausiwa – is five years.

But if he had charged Senzani with ‘theft by public servant’ for her to get the three years Judge Ivy gave her, she should have stolen only between K5,000 and K8,000 from the public kitty.

But if she had stolen anything above K80,000 the minimum would have been 14 years in the slammer.

Now Her Majesty the Cashgatress did not steal K80,000 or K1 million, but a cool K63 million, and Matemba comes here insulting us that we are all dunderheads we do not understand the law? C’mon, good people!

Since the case is done, Matemba should explain to us why the ACB decided to caress Senzani with a mere ‘theft simpliciter’. He owes it to us because Senzani’s action prompted donors to suspend the much-needed budgetary support that could have afforded government to buy drugs that could have saved at least a life in Ntcheu, for example.

He cannot get away with the yarn that we are not privy to some ‘evidences’. Why did he hide the same to Judge Ivy who also loudly wondered why the prosecution was so inept to proffer on Senzani such a lesser charge?

Ok, ok, Senzani showed some remorse by not only pleading guilty, thereby saving courts’ time, but also pledging a house and some money to cover for the K63 million she stole. Restitution, they call it.

But, come to think of it, Senzani pleaded guilty because she knew she stole and had no other explanation for her action. As the controlling officer in her ministry, she was supposed to safe-guard government money. She did not.

And the house she pledged may be worth the K63 million she stole. But who valued it?

Even if it was properly valued, who is going to buy it and how much is government going to spend in advertising it to find the right buyer?

If no buyer comes forth in time, it will certainly deteriorate with time and it will eventually be sold for a song.

By the time the house will be disposed of Senzani would have served half her sentence and be eligible for early release for good behaviour to enjoy the proceeds of her infamy.

Reyneck Matemba owes us a proper explanation as to why the ACB preferred a lesser charge against Madame Cashgatress; insulting us that we do not understand the law does not wash.

 

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27 thoughts on “Raw deal on Malawi ‘cashgatress’: Tenthani’s Muckraking on Sunday”

  1. Edwin Kambilinya says:

    An MP in Swaziland was slapped with a life sentence for stealing cow dung from the royal kraal of King Mswati the 3rd, in order to prepare some juju that was going to prevent the King from not kicking him out during a cabinet reshuffle.A VERY SERIOUS SWAZI JUDGE PRONOUNCED THAT JUDGEMENT.BRILLIANT.Now lets come to Malawi,somebody stole K63 Million and was given a pat on the shoulder of 3 years IHL AND still wants to appeal.Had the Cashgate scandle not exposed all that money would have gone just like that.Of course,there are Billions of Kwachas still not yet recovered as the culprits are still not known or identified and arrested.It’s a pity Malawians always smile when they feel pain.

  2. VYOTO says:

    THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTION CAN STILL PURSUE THE THEFT BY PUBLIC SERVANT CASE FOR SENZANI IF IT WAS TO BE SERIOUS.IT LOOKS THOUGH THAT SOMEONE SOMEWHERE IS PLAYING GAMES HENCE THE GOING FOR THE MERE CASE OF THEFT OTHER THAN THE THEFT BY PUBLIC SERVANT.THIS IS ALSO A TESTIMONY THAT THERE IS CORRUPTION EVERYWHERE AND “EVERY BODY IS CORRUPT” AS ONE ZILIRO CHIRAMBO, FORMER MINISTER DURING MULUZI 1ST CABINET ONCE SAID.

  3. Manuel says:

    What happened to her graduate husband’s retirement money frm his 40+ yrs of good jobs if u want the family home t also be labeled as cashgate property? Aren’t we bringing back FORFEITURE ACT that robbed families of things just b’coz politicians/other lazy p’ple hate their succes?

    1. MMalawi says:

      Don’t hide behind Forfeiture Act. If she was innocent and hard working then she shouldn’t have dipped her fingers into the tax payers money in the first place. Actually there is interest that could have incurred over the mk63million at the bank since the time she stole the money and now. All this is meant to be returned to government. This predicament must deter others from selling and not meant to encourage the same as seen in this judgement. Please don’t bring Mr Senzani into the equation because the amounts he got at Limbe Leaf and other businesses as an ITC manager/expert cannot make them very very rich. Honestly no one what’s her genuinely earned money or riches but justice to prevail as regard the recovery of all the money and proceeds of crime.

    2. Kanyimbi says:

      Which success are you talking about? Tikudabwanitu man

  4. KANGAANJOBVU says:

    Senzani needs to have her throat
    slit open becoz the theft she
    clmmitted amounts to genocide.
    Silly bitch her rightfully place is
    hell.

  5. mopia says:

    Iwenso R.T ndiwe cashgater. Wait we will come after you ACB sinabwere mocheza this time.

  6. Tate says:

    Justice must be done! Matemba may have licked some cashgate money.Investigate, sitigona we are watching!

  7. Mneneli Wonyenga says:

    I remember some 3 years ago, a certain 21 year old young man stole my mose waRRELO worthy 5 Sau. He was guilted and sentenced to 3 years. So does the equation balance? 5pin = 3years, 63mln = 3years? Mathematicians please help.

  8. Watu says:

    Yea, he must provide compelling reasons. Or the issue should resurface once his contract expire and HE recommend his reappointment. He must bear consequences of this negligence or abuse of power. PAC should not renew his contract. He is full of nonsense or corrupt. Furthermore, if the special prosecutors were part of ACB in this case, their contracts should not extended behind the cases they are handling now. Proceeding without addressing present challenges or without sending strong message of zero tolerance to ineptitude or corruption by those in-charge of fight corruption is utter mockery to the fight. Failure to act on the vices is as good as institutionalizing corruption.

  9. Livulezi river says:

    Tenthani, I know you are very sad with the sentence melted on this lady Senzani! But what you should know is that he who have money spends less or even don’t spend time within prison cells. Prisons are for poor people like you & me! I asked on this fora who assign judges and criteria used to assign!! This stupid judge by the name Ivy kamanga has eroded my thinking capabilities. She is really foolish! Let either judges Chifundo Kachale, Edward Twea, Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa or Dustan Mwaungulu take over the remaining cases!!!!

  10. Kenkkk says:

    Very worrying indeed. I thought the K63 mn was cash paid back but it seems it is the value of her assets including a house( but not the large one at Bunda turn off) that the govt will have to realise after selling the assets. Surely her large house at Bunda turn off is worth far much more than the 63mn. That house can easily find a buyer but the other other assets I doubt very much and the govt could actually incur a loss rather than recover the stolen money.

    On her sentencing, even with common theft charge, she got less than the maximum sentence that goes with that charge, 5 years. ACB you are giving us very poor unconvincing reasons for not charging her with a more serious offence. Is there something you are also hiding?

    Very lucky woman at the expense of the suffering Malawian masses.

  11. MADALA says:

    CHIBANZI CHIBANZI CHIBANZI CHIBANZI CHIBANZI MKAMWA !!

  12. Zex says:

    Ralph, the problem is that ACB jumps on any case that has nothing to do with corruption and bribery just to be seen they are relevant. In the process they mess up cases. The office of DPP should leave cases that have elements of corruption and bribery to the ACB and the rest should handled by the former. This was a straight case of theft by public servant.

  13. Wito says:

    Tenthani my friend, what I can tell you is that Malawi is rotten if you don’t know. Out of these thieves other thieves have also come in to benefit from them by conniving out there as to how to fool Malawians, I mean judges, prosecutors, all of them meet out there and discuss how much they will benefit after fooling Malawians. All these people, Matemba and Mai Kamanga know very well that what they did was simply to convince Malawians that they are serious when they are not. Actually they wanted to give her a suspended sentence that’s why there were a lot of postponements in sentencing. There is a lot my brother. The stolen millions will benefit all these people except a few upright men like Usiwausiwa who believe in their job. There will be more surprises, I can assure you pipo as we go and the more reason of dragging the cases so that they lose steam and pipo lose interest and they get away with it. SHAME MALAWI.

  14. Dry Cleaner says:

    Senzani pleaded guilty because what we have seen is just a tip of the ice berg and she knew that if she doesn’t plead guilty so quickly, a lot would come out and eventually lose a lot. Judicial si the most rotten of our systems.

  15. Malawian says:

    Reyneck Matemba should not think Malawians are stupid. Was Senzani not a Public Servant? Didnt she steal pubic funds? Regardless of whether the theft was not happening in the Ministry of Tourism’s vault or Account Number One does not matter. The bottom line is that she stole pubic money as a public servant. You have the audacity to school us when the learned Judge already mocked you on the same. Who is stupid, you or the Judge. Who are you schooling, Malawians or the Judge. If the Judge did not comment on the charge I could probably have may be tried to piece together what you are trying to imply which does not make sense even to a lay Malawian. This is a serious matter. Even the so called appeal by one DPP cohort, Necton Mhura is an insult to Malawians who have suffered at the hands of these people. I hope Malawian courts will be impartial and if possible slap this thief with at least five years on the appeal because Judge Kamanga was linient on her.

    I strongly believe the other cashgaters have also been stupidly charged just like this Senzani thief. I really wonder why the whole ACB and the so called prosecution team could have done this to Malawians after all the evidence and the outcry. This is a very serious matter.

  16. MMalawi says:

    Whatever happened to the law of tracking down proceeds of crime. God bless Malawi!

  17. M'ngoni wa pa Ntcheu says:

    That’s good analysis angoni, I Love it

  18. Nobel says:

    Its a mockery to most Malawians. Is it because she’s also a Lhomwe? Even Judge Kamanga amazes me in her rulling. Is it wrong to conclude that these people connived to give Senzani lighter sentence? These strange judgements will promot us to take the laws into our own hands.

  19. Bwana Tenthani can u write us the particulars of the offence of theft by public servant?

  20. Observer says:

    If she admits she stole equivalent to the house she is returning which up to K 63 million, why give her a charge for someone who might have stolen K 80 000? Malawi will remain poor and the laughing stoke of SADC and the people who are responsible for such a situation are proud of this? Oh, to be a Malawian!

  21. sinthani munthali says:

    anthu awa ndi amodzi. onse ndi mbava only poti enawo agwidwa. kwatsala tchire ndi komwe moto umapita

  22. XL says:

    In democracy all people are considered on merit as equal; only that some are more equal than others.

  23. eye eye says:

    and there is also the AG as the public and govt/’s legal expert to advise on these charges right? But what else since the ‘c’gatress) is/was also a client of the AG’s firm….Its what would be termed as a deliberate ‘wicked problem’…

  24. Mlomwe says:

    It is good that the charge is only three years. She need not waste more of our resources at the prison. She has already made us suffer. Ha ha ha.

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