The sentencing of cashgate convict Caroline Savala, who was found guilty of siphoning K84 million, has delayed as Judge Fiona Mwale is not giving her determination despite a sentencing hearing and mitigation in September.
State Prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu submitted to court that Savala was aware that she was stealing public money by lending her company certificate to another cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga, former deputy director of tourism.
Savala requested court to be lenient to her guilty plea on grounds that she was not aware that Kalonga would use it to steal government money.
In her testimony, Savala denied to have taken part in the cashgate but admitted that she found herself in the affair because Kalonga had used her.
She claimed that she was hoodwinked into the scandal by a childhood friend cashgate suspect Florence Chatuwa and Kalonga.
But Nyasulu brought objective material evidence in form of documents to prove that it could not have been just Kalonga using her since her own certificate was used yet she had responsibility under that certificate.
The High Court in Lilongwe convicted Savala on July 18 2015 for theft and money laundering of K84.9 million as she accused of getting payment from the Ministry of Tourism through her company Carmu Civil Engineering although the company did not provide any services to the government.
‘God –loving’ cashgater
Savala’s court appearances have never been short of drama; she wept so uncontrollably during one court session that Judge Mwale had to call off proceedings.
She described herself as God-loving, good-mannered young lady who could not have willingly “looted” and “plundered” national wealth had she known the treachery and scale of the plot she was participating in.
Savala told the court that Kalonga collected 90 percent of the funds once cashed from her Carm Civil Engineering Limited accounts, while she shared the 10 percent with Chatuwa who was the go-between of the two.
Judge Mwale did not indicate when the sentencing would take place.
Meanwhile, imprisoned cashgate convict and former principal secretary for Tourism, Treza Senzani, has alleged that the highest level of the previous administration was involved in Cashgate, according to court documents.
According to witness statements tendered in court as part of the prosecution of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo— Senzani implicates former minister of information Brown Mpinganjira and former PP official Hophmally Makande to have been key players in the plot to siphon money out of the State coffers for the political campaign.
She alleges that suspect and gun-shot survivor Mphwiyo was at the centre of the scheme which Senzani participated in alongside Kalonga.
Senzani alleges that Kalonga, who already implicated the former president in the scandal, claimed that Mphwiyo would call Makande and Mpinganjira and put their phone calls on loudspeaker to assure those involved that the move was sanctioned at “a higher level.”
The former PS who is serving a three-year custodial sentence at Maula Prison following her conviction also implicate former minister of touring Racheal Mazombwe Zulu and that she personally delivered K20 million cash looted to her.
Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director general Reyneck Matemba, who also heads the graft-busting body’s prosecution and legal teams, confirmed about the statement as part of the disclosures in the Mphwiyo case.
Matemba has however expressed disappointment over the leakage of the witness statement before court proceedings, but acknowledged that its security was beyond the ACB after the prosecution released it to over 19 co-accused persons, including Mpwhiyo, in a case where they are accused of a role in laundering K2.4 billion (about $3.6 million).
Roll call of cashgaters
Mike Msungama: The Lilongwe-based businessman became the first person to be convicted and sentenced on Cashgate-related charges by Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court in March 2014. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after being found guilty of possession of a motor vehicle, Toyota Fortuner, suspected to have been stolen. The vehicle was recovered from the residence of Cashgate convict Victor Sithole. Msungama was released on bail in May 2014 pending an appeal of conviction and sentence. He was also expected to undergo a medical check-up in South Africa.
Tressa Senzani: The former principal secretary in the Ministry of Tourism was the first public servant to be jailed when she was sentenced on October 7 2014 to three years in prison for money laundering and nine months for theft. Senzani had pleaded guilty to misappropriating K63 million.
Victor Sithole: The former accounts assistant became the second public officer to be jailed in connection with Cashgate. He was sentenced on November 4 2014 by the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court to seven years imprisonment for money laundering, one year for possession of stolen money and one year for illegal possession of forex. The sentences will run consecutively. He was found guilty on three counts involving money found in his possession amounting to K112 million, $31 850 and 122 000 rands in September 2013.
Oswald Lutepo: The kingpin of Cashgate was imprisoned for a total of 11 years—eight years for money laundering and three for conspiracy to defraud government—by the High Court in Zomba on September 4. In total, Lutepo confessed to laundering about K4.7 billion.
Wyson Dzinyemba Soko: On January 28 2015, the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court sentenced the former Malawi Congress Party (MCP) deputy director of youth to seven years imprisonment with hard labour for the theft and money laundering K40 million from government.
Maxwell Namata: The former civil servant was charged and convicted alongside businessperson Luke Kasamba for encashing two government cheques worth about K24.1 million through Cross Marketing Limited owned by Kasamba. On February 16 2015 He was sentenced by the Lilongwe High Court to consecutive custodial sentences of three years and five years for theft and money laundering respectively.
Luke Kasamba: Jailed for four and a half years for money laundering on February 16 2015. Namata restituted K14 million in cash while Kasamba paid K4 million cash and a truck valued by defence at K9 million.
Caroline Savala: On 18 July, Judge Fiona Mwale convicted her for theft and money laundering about K85 million in the Cashgate.
Leonard Kalonga: The former chief tourism officer was, by his own confession, the mastermind of Cashgate in the Ministry of Tourism. On August 26 2015, Justice Fiona Mwale of Lilongwe High Court convicted him on his own plea of guilt to three counts of money laundering of K3.7 billion.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :