Lawyer representing , businessman Osward Lutepo in a case which he is answering charges of attempted murder, Osward Mtupila on Wednesday told the High Court in Lilongwe that his client is currently suffering from ‘anxiety disorder’ and is not fit and well to stand trial.
Last year, the court granted the prosecution permission to add Lutepo to the shooting case.
As the hearing resumed Wednesday after a long break marred with judiciary strike, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale sought for an adjournment after realising that Lutepo was not in the court, a notion which Justice Michael Ntambo denied.
In the afternoon, Mtupila brought a medical report submitted a medical report from Katoto Masm Medi-Clinic in Mzuzu diagnosing Lutepo with anxiety disorder with recurrent panic disorder.
“According to our observation, the patient needs specialist consultation [psychiatric] for more investigation and better management. The patient has been referred to Mzuzu Central Hospital,” the report submitted to court reads.
The lawyer said Lutepo could “not stand trial” at this moment.
However, Justice Ntambo has ordered the state to find a psychiatric expert to examine Lutepo if he is “normal”.
He also ordered that if he is to be found of sound mind, he should take plea on February 17 in the shooting case.
Lutepo is regarded as chief suspect in cashgate cases and charged in a K5.7 billion (about $11.4m) theft and money laundering case alongside former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara, Pika Manondo and private-practice lawyer Wapona Kita, which is pending hearing in Lilongwe.
He is also is answering similar charges on an amount totalling K3.1 billion (about $6.2m) in the High Court’s Zomba registry.
Lutepo is facing another charge of conspiracy to commit murder charges alongside Kasambara, Manondo and Dauka Manondo in relation to the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
He was also slapped with another charge of perjury for admitting that he lied under oath in court.
His health scare started after his arrest on fresh charges of tax evasion.
Lutepo had a problem with his nervous system and has a paralysis of his legs. He has been on wheel chair.
Lutepo has accepted wrong doing in the plunder of public resources and apologised to the nation through the media, saying his companies were simply used as conduits.
He implicated former president Banda for benefitting part of his stolen money .Banda shot down the claims, saying they are “malicious” and calculated to drag her in the mud of cashgate as part of the political vendetta by the government.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale recently pointed out she will not trade confessors of Cashgate with non-custodial sentences
She said it was a mockery to the suffering Malawians have endured as a consequence of the accused persons’ role to plunder public money if her office was to accept defence proposal to trade confessions with non-custodial sentences.
Kachali said for this reason, there was no legal framework within which any plea bargaining arrangement can be made.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :