Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament in Lilongwe on Monday to update Parliament on progress of the pilfering of government money – cashgate -in what officials told legislatures there is no official recorded statement from suspect Oswald Lutepo implicating former president Joyce Banda.
Lutepo gave an interview on Zodiak Broadcasting Station on Friday to accept wrong doing in the plunder of public resources and apologised to the nation, 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.
Appearing before PAC, Kachale said Lutepo has not recorded his statement to detail the fresh claim.
She said prosecution will not act on Lutepo’s media confessions until he pleads guilty in court.
“If Lutepo is really remorseful, he must go before a court of law and plead guilty. Yes, he can go ahead and say who else is involved. But in the meantime, we are just listening just like everybody else,” Kachale told the committee.
“We know people can just implicate others so we can let them go. Right now, we have Lutepo. If he has evidence, he should provide it under oath to Fiscal Police or Anti-Corruption Bureau [ACB], not a radio station,” the country’s top prosecutor added.
The prosecution also want Lutepo to declare property and provide information leading to the recovery of the said property.
Lutepo’s first lawyer Jai Banda when he was arrested last year upon handing himself from police from undisclosed location, said he has not seen any statement Lutepo recorded implicating the former president.
“I have no such record of statement,” said Jai, a money laundering law expert.
He said on radio that at no point such information was made known to him
Lutepo has since stressed that he is going to give a detailed account on how individuals and companies benefited from the massive looting.
“I want to level the playing field so that everyone involved should face justice,” he said.
He plans to hold a public conference where he will reveal in detail the way they were defrauding government.
Law expert Justin Dzonzi of Justice Link, said though Lutepo’s credibility is damaged by among other things admitting lying under oath, he would be a “good source” of information gathering in the cashgate investigations.
“We cannot ignore what he has said. We can use him to dig more,” Dzonzi said.
“Go after everybody whom he has mentioned and question them,” the law expert said,
He however cautioned government against making arbitrary arrests, saying the tax payer will end up compensating people for wrongful imprisonment.
Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director Reyneck Matemba said they have noted the allegations made by Lutepo and will make their own independent investigations .
He said ACB are interested “to establish evidence”.
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.
And then he has a perjury charge for lying under oath in court.
He is currently under arrest for tax evasion.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :