Businessman and cashgate suspect Oswald Lutepo’s has been granted bail on tax evasion charges after he was taken ill at Kamuzu Central Hospital but his cashgate tainted companies appear also in the K92 billion DPP-era cashgate “audit querry.”
His lawyer Oswald Mtupila said his client remains unwell as he is “still complaining of some chest and back pains. He has also complained of some breathing problems.”
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 has since shot down the claims, saying they are “malicious” and calculated to drag her in the mud of cashgate.
But a look into the K92 billion audit query during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) era under late president Bingu wa Mutharika, Lutepo’s name is prominently featured through his companies.
A certificate of registration number 87745 issued under the Business Names Act shows that Lutepo employed a capital of K500, 000 when he started the business in 2005 whose nature is indicated as “general trading.”
He also registered his own airline to fly people and goods across the country.
Lutepo registered Heart Air on November 13, 2012. The Registrar entered it under number 157286. He also obtained an air service permit from the Department of Civil Aviation to run domestic scheduled and non-scheduled passenger and cargo services. The permit under ASP 005/2012 was granted on November 21, 2012.
The permit allowed Lutepo to operate an ATR 42-500 aircraft for a start.
Further investigations reveal that on January 21, 2013, Lutepo entered into discussions with Premium Aviation Services of South Africa to charter an aircraft and crew. The charter was under what is technically called wet-lease.
He set off as a clearing clerk at Surfair Freight Limited, a privately owned clearing company. He established his first company, OSK Clearing Agency, in 2001.
Lutepo now has a litany of established companies under his belt. They include: Naming’omba Tea and Macademia Estates Limited, Chloride Batteries Limited, Spare Giants Limited, O and G Construction Company, WOGET Cooking Oil Company, WOGET Cotton Ginning Company Limited and Flexi Mail Limited.
The audit query on K92 billion shows Lutepo’s companies in it.
German government provided funding for the forensic audit of K92 billion, but Malawi government has not outlined the progress and roadmap to ensuring that the audit is done.
But Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has said it cannot investigate the K92 billion cashgate because Parliament through the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommended they first clear the 2013 loot before conducting audit of the K92 billion.
ACB Deputy Director, Reyneck Matemba told PAC members on Monday that the Bureau has no file on the K92 billion cashgate that happened between 2009 and 2012.
He however indicated that compliance with PAC recommendations will not discredit their efforts as an independent body.
“PAC did not and has never stopped us from investigating the K92 billion audit query. What PAC made was a recommendation and not a direction and, besides, that recommendation was made not only to the ACB, but to the National Audit Office, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Fiscal and Fraud Unit of the Malawi Police Service,” Matemba said.
He therefore said forensic audit on K92 billion cashgate can only be tackled after the current cashgate trials are concluded.
The K92 billion cashgate was exposed by the National Audit Office (NAO).
The infamous cashgate forced co-operating partners to withhold their budget support to Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :