‘Looterpo’ feels fooled over ‘Cashmbara’ claims – report

Businessman Oswald Lutepo, the chief suspect in ‘cashgate’, the systematic plunder of government money, has he feels fooled by prosecution that he was going to State witness “not knowing I was just being used to lie against myself as well,” and is calling for government to reboot Cashgate investigation and make fresh interrogations before trial.

Lutepo said he wants to spill the beans and let “people who really benefited from the Cashgate money” face the law.

In newspaper interview on Saturday, the chief ‘Looter’ suspect suggested that government should set a truth commission on the Cashgate scandal.

“Let government get fresh statements from all the suppliers including me, I am not trying to stop cases and the trials. All I want is fair trial,” Lutepo is quoted in the Weekend Nation.

Lutepo: Claims dismissed
Lutepo: Claims dismissed

Lutepo  recently wrote Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale claiming former Justice Minister Fahad Assani, former Director of Public Prosecutions Bruno Kalemba and prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu of forcing him to write false witness and caution statements to implicate another former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara in the Cashgate scandal.

But Kaphale has responded by trashing Lutepo, arging claims he made to the police tally with the statements he gave the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

The AG tells Lutepo that his fresh claims “will not affect any criminal charges laid against you or the progress of any trials in respect thereof.”

Lutepo, nonetheless, described AG’s response as “unfortunate”.

The Weekend Nation sought views of Malawian law expert at Cape Town University, Danwood Chirwa, who dismissed Lutepo’s suggestion, arguing truth commissions are about managing the transition from an oppressive past to a new democratic era.

“Truth commissions provide the option, at least as an avenue, where victims’ families may come to know at least what happened to their relatives who disappeared or died in mysterious circumstances. The suspected perpetrators are given the inducement of possible pardons in exchange for truth telling. In this way, victims’ families can get to know what happened.

“But as you can see, Cashgate is a financial crime committed in a short period. There is ample evidence involving a small group of people. Talk of a truth and reconciliation commission is mere hogwash,” said Chirwa as quoted by the paper.

According to Chirwa, Lutepo does not know the theoretical justifications of such commissions and is trying to invoke it in circumstances that are wholly unsuited to it.

“Furthermore, our laws require the police and other crime investigation agencies to deal with cases such as these. Any commission set up to stop these institutions from exercising their responsibilities would be invalid and illegal,” argued Chirwa.

Lutepo was arrested in November last year and was later charged with K2.6 billion theft and money laundering after being on the police wanted list in the wake of the Capital Hill Cashgate scam which was widely exposed following the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September.

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