Lutepo not off the hook – State

Prosecutors are ready for the trial of businessperson and former People’s Party (PP) senior member Osward Lutepo.

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Bruno Kalemba has said the State has since filed money laundering charges against Lutepo in the High Court on the K2.6 billion (US$6 190 476) case.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of committing offences of money laundering when he appeared at the First Grade Magistrate’s Court in Zomba.

Lutepo was arrested last November on suspicion that his companies were involved in theft of public resources and money laundering about K1.2 billion (US$285 714) from government.

Lutepo: State says he is not off the hook
Lutepo: State says he is not off the hook

But last month he testified against 27-year-old Victor Sithole who is accused of being found in possession of large amounts of money , including K112 million (US$266 667) and $31 800.

The top prosecutor clarified that Lutepo was only called on to testify on the element that he sought a court order to release the Malawi currency found in Sithole’s custody.

Kalemba said Lutepo will still face trial at the High Court on his charges.

If the State successfully secures Lutepo’s conviction, the businessperson who owns a range of enterprises, may be imprisoned for 10 years and fine of K2 million.

And if the prosecution links his case to the businesses, Lutepo may be fined K10 million and may lose business authority.

Meanwhile, a Cashgate case status update shows that the State has so far completed six of the 20 filed cases with only a single conviction; that of Lilongwe businessman Mike Nsungama who was accused of selling a stolen car to Sithole.

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