Fresh Malawi ‘cashgate’ probe reveals more billions stolen by ‘Looterpol’

Special prosecutor in Malawi’s Cashgate cases has revealed that further investigations into the theft of public money has shown that the chief suspect did not only siphon K3.1 billion from government confers instead the money stolen by the chief suspect alone is K4.3 billion.

The revelation from the Special Prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu comes just days after Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Malawi National Assembly announced that it is contemplating a fresh probe into the scam by summoning again several stakeholders to appear before it and answer ‘unanswered’ questions in the ‘Cashgate’.

Nyasulu told the Zomba High Court that fresh investigations revealed that chief suspect Oswald Luptepo stole more money than what was previously given.

Lutepo: Case amended as more moneyis said to have been stolen by him
Lutepo: Case amended as more moneyis said to have been stolen by him

The prosecutor also amended the charge sheet to possession of stolen property and money laundering from theft and money laundering.

However, during the court appearance Lutepo could not immediately take plea on the new charges with his defense lawyer arguing that the notice on the new charges was served late. Lutepo therefore took plea on the old charges which only showed theft and money laundering of the initial K3.1 billion.

Nyasulu said the first investigations did not include some bank accounts.

“New evidence has been brought to our knowledge that the money in question is actually more than what was earlier presented in court,” said Nyasulu in an interview outside the court.

He said although Lutepo did not take plea on the new charges, the State will still use the amended charges when the court reconvenes on September 5 to have the defense presents its issues.

Nyasulu said the State is expected to parade 14 witnesses of which include three investigators and 11 civilian witnesses.

Lutepo, who is also answering another K5 billion theft and money laundering case connected to the same Cashgate, pleaded not guilty to all the charges laid against him in the Zomba High Court.

In the other case, Lutepo is being charged together with former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara, who is now in private practice.

Kasambara and his professional colleague Wapona Kita are also co-accused persons in conspiracy and possession of property suspected to have been stolen amounting to K55 million and money laundering while the former minister’s friend Pika Manondo and Kasambara himself are also separately charged with possession of stolen property comprising 11 vehicles, K22 million in Manondo’s custody and K5 billion in both their custody.

Nyasulu told the Lilongwe High Court that the evidence would show that money stolen from government was deposited into Lutepo’s bank account which would then be withdrawn by Lutepo and given to Manondo.

“Then Pika Manondo would take the money to Ralph Kasambara and other people. And we have evidence that some of the money from the fraudulent payments were also deposited into the accounts of Ralph and Arnolds Associates (where Kita is a partner); thus, the accounts of Mr. Lutepo and Ralph and Arnolds were used to launder money defrauded from government,” said Nyasulu.

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