Two cashgate convicts – Maxwell Namata and Luke Kasamba – have been given custodial sentences despite returning just over K24 million (US$50 955) they stole from government coffers as mitigation for a lenient sentence.
Judge Annabel Mtalimanja in her determination has opted to give the two a custodial sentence.
In her sentencing, she has slapped Namata with eight years with hard labour and Kasamba four years IHL.
“The scheme of money laundering laws is to confiscate the proceeds of crime and not just the principal sum stolen,” said the Judge.
Namata and Kasamba were convicted after being found guilty to encashment of two government cheques totaling K24.1million through Cross Marketing Limited, a company whose director is Kasamba. One cheque was of K14.4 million, while the other was of K9.7 million.
During sentence submissions hearing at Lilongwe High Court, Namata resituated the mis-appropriated K14 million in cash while Kasamba has paid K4 million and a truck valued by defence at K9million (US$19 108) .
But Justice Mtalimanja said in sentecing: “These were not crimes of opportunity, but careful thought was applied.”
Special prosecutor in the cashgate scandal, Kamdoni Nyasulu, was satisfied with custodial sentence “ to send strong message” to all cashgaters.
Namata’s lawyer Ralph Kasambara has asked Justice Mtalimanja to consider being first offender, the cooperation with the state during investigations by Namata as reasons for remorse.
Kasambara, himself also answering money laundering charges related to cashgate, told the court that by returning the money, the state has recovered the loss it suffered.
He could not immedietely comment on the conviction and sentencing.
The duo now joins Victor Sithole who was sentenced to nine-years, TressaSenzani serving a three-year sentence and Wyson Dzinyemba Soko who will serve a seven-year term.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :