Judge refuses Lutepo ‘special’ prison treatment, orders forfeiture of assets: Malawi cashgate

High Court Judge Redson Kapindu has rejected a plea by convicted businessman Oswald Flywell Lutepo to be  given  special privileges in jail.

Lutepo was on Monday June 15, 2015 convicted on his own plea of guilty on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud government of K4.2 billion (US$9.3 million) between April and September 2013.

Lutepo: No priviledges as a convict

Lutepo: No priviledges as a convict

Laywer Oswald Mtupila asked the High Court in Zomba to give the convict special jail treatment and facilities, fearing that Malawi prison conditions would be too harsh for someone with Lutepo’s mobility challenges.

The convict is now confined on the wheel-chair and his lawyer said physically, Lutepo remains in poor condition. He asked the court that Lutepo should be given prison conditions that are not overcrowded.

But in his determination, Justice Kapindu rejected the bid, saying Lutepo will face prison treatment like any other convict serving jail term, saying the two psychiatric experts who examined him stated in their reports that Lutepo did not have mobility challenges.

Lawyer Mtupila stated that whilst the psychiatric findings of the psychiatric experts could not be faulted, their findings on the physical condition of Lutepo were most probably made in error, on account of the observable practical reality.

He stated that this observable physical reality could be attested by Lutepo himself and his relatives.

“The Court declines to make any order for the special treatment of the convict in prison,” said Judge Kapindu in his ruling seen by Nyasa Times.

“ The Court has on record expert findings on the condition of the convict and unless these are displaced by more competent specialist findings, the Court will stick to the findings on record,” he added.

The Judge said Lutepo is within his constitutional rights to make application to Court bringing “special considerations” for his treatment in prison should he have proper and convincing evidence to justify such application.

“The Court therefore orders that the convict will be held in prison in conditions consistent with human dignity as they apply to all other prisoners in prison, which are consonant with the lawful principles, procedures and protocols applied by the Malawi Prisons Service from to time,” ruled Justice Kapindu.

Meanwhile, the court ordered that, all Lutepo’s property should be confiscated by June 25.

Applications for pecuniary orders will be made as a form of punishment for Lutepo if he fails to pay the money laundered through his companies, among them International Procurement Services (IPS) and O and G Construction.

The Judge also said all his assets that are outside the country should be returned to Malawi by June 19.

Director   of   Public   Prosecutions,   Mary   Kachale, asked the court to defer the imposition of sentence on Lutepo, while enquiries are made to identify, value and restrain his property.

Kachale said: “We thought it wise to look into the beneficiaries of the convict first so that they should be returned to the government.”

The prosecution argued that convicted criminals like Lutepo must be put in the position they were before they committed the crime or be made poorer than before and also generally be taught that crime does not pay.

“In money laundering offences, courts must never   shy   away from   issuing   confiscation   orders   and/or pecuniary penalties where necessary. Whilst in many cases prison terms are germane, it is imperative to ensure that in addition to such prison terms, thieves, fraudsters or launderers should not derive financial benefits from the proceeds of the crime subsequent to their conviction and sentence,” said Judge Kapindu.

Reyneck Matemba , the Deputy Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, stated that the State is aware of various properties belonging to Lutepo that should be among those assets that will be the subject of the confiscation order sought.

The prosecution has stated that its application for confiscation will target assets that are of substantial value to meaningfully make restitution to the State.

Lutepo becomes the seventh person to be convicted on Cashgate-related charges since arrests began in 2013.

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jockerkaluma
Guest

hey hey life in prison ameneyo please achewa inu pa ntumbo panu!!!pamisundu pino mwe ise yisuzgikenge imwe mwibe matambala akawe uyoo

the patriot
Guest
Where are the people whom you were serving Mr Lutepo? You did say at one point that you were only, just but, a conduit for the bulk of that K4bln. This should be a lesson to all of us. Better to crawl into riches than to sprint into them. I wake up at 4 am everyday and get back home around 7 pm, some days without making even one single invoice/kwacha. But tell you what, the peace of mind and freedom I enjoy are worth a lot more than the K4bln Mr Lutepo enjoyed, for what we now can see,… Read more »
akhona griffiths
Guest

for your own information, justice kapindu is now a full professor and it shows that he is real professorial material osati za amathanyulazi where one wonders how they became professors!

makwinjaishmael
Guest

Zoopsatu izi, muzunzitsa ana komanso nkazi chuma chikalandidwa. Kulemela simadulira.Mulungu athangatire banja lako panyengo yowawayi and be praying for a health life.

Keen Observer
Guest

Lutepo ndi ameneyi koma nanga bwanji Mulli cos Mulli nso nkhani zake nzakuba zomwezi mukukonderatu apa.

Vin mongu
Guest

azikazi mumawanyenga aja ndikumawagulira magalimoto azakupatsani nsima ku zombako? lifeis very unfair.

Totolitotoli
Guest

This is the only reputable, sensible and respectable judge ‘Second Daniel’ since Malawi became independent kumeneko ndiye kugamula osati mbuzi zina za ma judge.Mulande china chiri chonse chomwe ali nacho watibera misonkho yathu mokwanira koma mkazi wake yekha mumusiire kuti azithetserako nkhawa.ooo1 NDINAIWALA PANJA AKHALA ALI KU NDENDE komabe choncho azingomuona.

decent citizen
Guest

All the cashgaters convicted should pay back the money with interest.Malawians have suffered alot because of these evil greedy people.Lock them up and throw away keys in Lingadzi river.After this,we should start the 92 billion.Pitala should not should shield his thief cohorts.They all need to be arrested and pay back the money.You should also add more years for Treza Senzani.3 years is not.Muwonjezezereko ka 0 kuti ikhale 30.

Lutepo
Guest

A lutepo ulendo achimwene! Tadyerela ife.

Lee Kachoka
Guest

Zokoma zopezedwa mosabvutiki ra,zimanyung’unya kothera.Ndio khawa?

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