Cashgate scandal that has seen billions of kwacha looted at Capital Hill at the expense of the general populace has now taken a new twist with media trial as businessman and chief suspects in the Cashgate scandal, Oswald Lutepo, has gone on radio to accept wrong doing in the case and implicate former president Joyce Banda.
Lutepo told Zodiak Broadcasting Station on Friday that Banda played conduit to the scandal and said the Baker Tilly forensic report which exonerated the former president was not thorough.
“I have been to State House several times to deliver money and some other audiences. If there CCTVs there will prove me,” Lutepo, a former deputy director of recruitment and sensitisation in Banda’s Peoples Party told the radio in an interview.
The interview comes after several reports on Nyasa Times that Lutepo has been pressed by government to implicate the former president to get amnesty and was recently threatened by Director of Public Prosecution Mary Kachale that if he did not comply, his wife and children would also be arrested.
His wife was questioned by Police last week.
Lutepo said in the interview – which has been rebroadcasted several times on the radio – that he is “in hiding” and that he feared for his life.
He claimed the cashgate money was being used for political purposes of the former ruling People’s Party.
“They used my account as a conduit,” he claimed.
Lutepo said he was willing to provide information to prove that he was working on instruction from former president to defraud government.
“We were sent to do things. We were sent to rig MCP elections using the same cashgate money. The former president did not want Chakwera to win MCP presidency,” claimed Lutepo in a well choreographed interview with Gabriel Kamlomo.
He played down that he has been instructed to implicate Banda.
“I have a family. I would rather salvage my image. We were used.”
Lutepo accepted his wrongdoing in cashgate as part of his plea bargain and stressed he won’t go alone.
“I am ready to prove my claim. Come what may, I will stand to the truth,” said Lutepo, calling on government to start afresh the investigations into cashgate.
He apologised for his role in cashgate, saying effects for it are devastating to the nation which is reeling in economic turmoil now.
“Am sorry to all Malawians for what we did,” said Lutepo.
“I have suffered a lot, humiliation. I owe the nation an apology and an explanation,” he said.
Lutepo said he has not been in touch with former president since he was arrested.
“Since I was arrested she has not spoken to me. She abandoned me,” said Lutepo.
He also apologised to President Peter Mutharika, saying he will face problems to run the country due to cashgate scandal.
Lutepo said he has been trying to reach out to government to explain his side of the story through letter to Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale dated July 17 2014 and copied to the Chief Justice, the diplomatic community and Malawi Law Society, in which he accused former Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Bruno Kalemba, former Malawi Justice Minister Fahad Assani and prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu of forcing him to write false witness and caution statements.
Banda’s spokesman Tusekele Mwanyongo said he could not immediately comment on Lutepo’s “defamation”, saying only the courts that have the duty of establishing the veracity and indeed the whole truth of the claims.
Lutepo faces theft and money laundering charges of K2.6 billion (about $6.8m) in the wake of the Capital Hill Cashgate scam which was widely exposed following the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September 2013.
But he was used as a State witness on the K1.2 billion thefts and money laundering case against fellow suspect Victor Sithole who was convicted and now serving nine years jail.
Justine Dzonzi, a law expert and executive director of Justice Link called for “reasonable degree of caution” on Lutepo’s claims.
The Cashgate scandal saw some Malawi public servants – in collusion with various contractors – siphon millions of dollars from government coffers for goods and/or services not rendered.
As a result of the scandal, Malawi’s major donors suspended up to 40% of their aid to the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :