Wyson Dzinyemba Soko serving his seven and half years imprisonment for ‘cashgate’ offences was back in court on Wednesday morning, appeared before presiding judge, Justice Lloyd Muhara for appeal hearing against his conviction and sentence.
The former Deputy Youth Director for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was on 28th January this year handed a prison sentence after being found guilty of siphoning K40.9 million from Ministry of Tourism through his Wymbaso General Dealers on charges of theft and money laundering.
On conviction Soko through his lawyer Robert Kadzakumanja said there is no evidence to support the conviction of theft and money laundering charges.
“Evidence given was insufficient to warrant conviction” said Kadzakumanja while on sentence, he argued that it is excessive and it must be reduced assuming that the conviction will be sustained.
Early this year, when Soko was being sentenced by Senior Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa, the Magistrate in its Judgement directed that the two sentences should run consecutively. But Mr. Soko’s argument in his appeal is that would like two sentences run concurrently.
However, Prosecution lead by Enoch Chibwana argued that the conviction on both counts (theft and money laundering) is safe because there is sufficient evidence.
State among others Soko’s bank account statement which indicates that he received Cheque from Government through his company Wymbaso General Dealers yet rendered no service and that he admitted the transaction.
“The State is contented that the conviction on theft was appropriate and justified. With regard to conviction of money laundering the applicant received money with full knowledge that it was proceeds of crime. His actions to proceed to deal with the money accounts to money laundering which is under section 35 subsection 1 of subsection C of Money Laundering Proceeds of Serious Crimes and Terrorist Financing Act… The applicant is correctly convicted of money laundering.” Argued the state
On the issue of sentence, State argued that the sentence “is not excessive and is reasonable” considering the reasons the lower court gave when passing the sentence which includes the economic problems and interrupted services from Government following his participation in the looting of public money.
The state further said “there is nothing wrong in the magistrate giving him consecutive sentences because that is acceptable at law as long as the court gives reasons” which the magistrate gave reasons why he opted for consecutive sentences.
“Our appeal therefore is that this appeal hearing should be dismissed in its entirety and costs be awarded to State” pleaded the state
In his application, Soko is also asking court to consider his dettoriating health which the state said there is no sufficient evidence.
Meanwhile, the matter has been adjourned for judgement to a date to be fixed by the court.
Wyson Soko was charged and convicted of two counts of Theft and Money Laundering; on theft he was given four years for money laundering and three and half years for theft.
He pleaded not guilty to all two charges of Theft and Money Laundering and he become a third convict to get a prison sentence since the commencement of prosecution of Cash gate cases.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :