Malawi Parliament will review the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Financing Act and some provisions in the Penal Code in the wake of the sentencing to 11 years imprisonment of the main cashgate convict Oswald Lutepo.
The Legal Affairs Committee of chairperson, Peter Chakhwantha, said they want to have a very powerful arrow in their quiver to address money laundering and wrongfull self-enrichment.
Some sections of the society have argued that Lutepo’s 11 years prison sentence for for conspiracy to defraud government and money laundering K4.2 billion is manifestly in adequate.
Judge Redson Kapindu of the High Court in Zomba when passing his sentence wondered why the maximum sentence for money laundering was pitched “so low” at 10 years imprisonment .
“Today we are dealing with unprecedented amounts of money laundered. Tomorrow we might be confronted with a very bad and appalling case of terrorist financing.
“The law makers should seriously reflect on whether the punishments we have on the statute book are sufficient to address the mischief intended to be cured by the legislature through the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Financing Act,” said Justice Kapindu in his ruling.
Chakhwantha, a lawyer by training, said his committe agree with the Judge’s observation hence plans to review the Act.
He said he has instructed the Clerk of Parliament to write a memo to the Speaker so that his committee should meet and review the Act and other provisions in the penal code, saying it is a matter of urgency but their meeting will depend of availability of funds.
Chakhwantha said they need to review the Act so that cashgaters are “ punished accordingly.”
Money laundering law expert Jai Banda, who previously represented Lutepo in the case, has said stiffer punishments do not necessarily deter people from committing crimes.
If the general feeling is that the sentences are not adequate then there would be need to review the Act but what people should know is that it does not necessarily mean harsher sentences will deter people from committing crimes,” Banda said as quoted in the press.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :