Convicted businessman and chief cashgate defendant Oswald Lutepo will be sentenced and start serving jail while application for confiscation and pecuniary penalty orders has been postponed.
Lutepo, who was convicted on his own plea of guilty on charges of conspiracy to defraud government and money laundering of K4.2 billion ($9.3 million) between April and September 2013, had asked for sentencing to wait for State’s application for postponement on confiscation and pecuniary orders.
But High Court Judge Redson Kapindu in Zomba resgistry on Monday said sentencing should proceed and adjourned the case to Friday August 7 2015 for post conviction process hearing.
The judge ruled that sentencing and confiscation order could be treated differently.
Ruled the judge: “I order that the sentencing process can continue while the application [for confiscation order by the State] is postponed for a period of 60 calendar days or to such an earlier day as the State may apply.”
Both Defence and State lawyers said they were happy with the ruling.
The businessperson-cum-politician risks losing assets of his companies, among them, International Procurement Services, O and G Construction Limited, Woget Cotton Ginning which is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings and Naming’omba Tea Estates.
Money laundering attracts a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and K2 million ($4 444) fine while conspiracy to defraud government attracts an imprisonment sentence of three years, according to Section 323 of the Penal Code.
Convicted Lutepo is the seventh person to be convicted on Cashgate related charges since trials began in February 2014, but the highest sentence imposed for money laundering has so far been seven years the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court imposed on civil servant Victor Sithole.
Lutepo has led a flamboyant lifestyle on the back of the despicable cashgate crimes which have caused so much misery up and down the country.