Lutepo fails to pay K50m bail bond, still in Malawi prison: Appeals

Businessman, Oswald Lutepo granted bail by High Court in Zomba on Friday remains in prison after failing to secure K50 million (US$125 000) bail bond, Nyasa Times has established.

Meanwhile, Lutepo through his lawyer, Jai Banda is processing an appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre against the cash bail bond, which he described, as ‘excessive and prohibitive’.

Lutepo who handed himself to the police on November 6, 2013, is being charged with theft contrary to Section 278 of the Penal Code and money laundering contrary to Section 35 (1)(c) of the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Act.

In an interview, lawyer Banda confirmed his client, alleged to have stolen about K2.6 billion from government coffers, was failing to raise the demanded K50 million bail bond.

Lutepo (L) with his lawyer Jai Banda : Appealing to Supreme Court

“It’s true, he is still under custody. I am currently processing court records; by tomorrow (Tuesday) will file for an appeal at Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre so that the demanded money should be reduced. The amount is huge, we can’t manage,” said Banda.

He could not, however, reveal how much his client has in his bank account currently.

But Nyasa Times established that the businessman was failing to pay the bail bond despite having K28 million in his bank account and aside given K20 million by two ruling Peoples Party (PP) top gurus.

One of Lutepo’s close aides revealed to Nyasa Times that the businessman was reluctant of using the K28 million as it is earmarked for salaries for his employees.

The aide also revealed that he once tried sought help from some of the PP top gurus.

“In literal sense, he has no money. He is afraid if he uses what he told me is in his bank accounts as bail bond, then his employees will suffer. Its tricky situation; we have been trying to source some funds but most people are not willing to help. Its only two PP top officials who gave us K10 million each,” disclosed the aide.

Bail Conditions

On Friday, Judge Justice Godfrey Mwase imposed strict conditions to the bail, which include K50 million (US$125 000) in cash bail bond, declaration of his wealth and assets within 14 days and that he should not sell or dispose of any property without the knowledge of the court.

The Judge also ordered Lutepo to provide two sureties bonded at K2.5m (US$6 250) cash each; to surrender his travel documents and imposed with a reporting routine to Police on Monday and Friday before 3pm every week.

He has also been ordered not to disturb peace or investigations, not leave the country without permission through inter-parties hearing and not leave Blantyre without police knowledge.

Lutepo is a one of the suspects in what is now called Capital Hill cash gate where billions of kwacha in public funds were looted. He was on Interpol wanted list before handing himself to police.

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