Lilongwe Magistrate Court has found Malawi Congress Party (MCP) deputy director of youth Wyson Zinyemba Soko guilty of theft and money laundering for his involvement in the ongoing financial scandal dubbed “Cashgate” that saw millions of dollars looted from the impoverished country’s government.
Soko becomes the third person to be convicted in many Cashgate cases currently before the courts.
Earlier this year a secretary in Malawi’s tourism department Teresa Namathanga Senzani was sentenced to three years in jail. And on Tuesday Lilongwe Magistrate Court sentenced Victor Sithole, 28 to nine years imprisonment with hard labour.
He was an accounts assistant in the Malawian government in 2013 when he was found with about $66 000 in cash in American, South African and Malawian currency.
Making a determination on MCP’s Soko, Lilongwe senior resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa said the State had proven beyond reasonable doubt that he had in his possession K40.9 million ($90 000) knowing the funds were proceeds from crime.
The court heard that Soko was paid K40.9 million through his company Watipaso General Dealers from the Ministry of Tourism vote when the company had no contract with government, as testified by various government officials during trial.
“The accused participated actively in defrauding government,” noted Chirwa.
Chirwa also trashed Soko’s assertions during his testimony that a Godfrey Banda used his company and the money belonged to Banda because he gave “illogical and emotional” answers when cross-examined on the particulars of the Banda.
“I found the statements very strange and entirely unbelievable,” Chirwa said.
The Magistrate said the state had successfully prosecuted the case to prove the guilt of Soko “beyond reasonable doubt.”
“On the offence of money launder, the court finds Wyson Zinyemba Soko guilty as charged and convicts him accordingly,” Chirwa ruled.
Soko’s lawyer Henry Kadzakumanja asked for ample time to prepare mitigation submission before sentencing.
The court adjourned to Friday for mitigation factors.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :