One Malawi’s ‘cashgater’ convicted: Treaser Namathanga-Senzani

Malawi’s Lilongwe High Court on Thursday August 28, 2014 registered a first conviction in the ongoing ‘cashgate’ cases in which government officers and some businesses siphoned billions of money from government coffers through fraudulent transactions.

The first convict in the cases is former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Treaser Namathanga-Senzani who was found guilty on her own plea of theft and money laundering.

Justice Kamanga : To pass sentence
Justice Kamanga : To pass sentencede

The Anti Corruption Bureau has since described the conviction as a ‘milestone’ in cashgate prosecution.

Namathanga-Senzani now faces a prison sentence of up to five years for the theft and of up to ten years plus two million kwacha fine for the money laundering offences.

The former tourism boss stunned the court when she immediately pleaded guilty in the first reading of the two charges levelled against her and through her lawyer Teddy Rocka of Kalekeni Kaphale Lawyers Company immediately asked the court to grant her bail pending court sentencing.

As a plea for bail, her lawyer Rocka said that her client has cooperated throughout the case and that she paid back the stolen K63 million to government and that she has not violated bail conditions that the lower court granted upon her arrest.

Justice Ivy Kamanga then granted her bail with part of her bail condition requiring her to register her real property.

Rocka said that he was happy that the court has granted his client bail. He said initially it could be difficult as per court norm that a convict is kept in prison until sentencing is done.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 15, 2014.

In the case the court heard that on August 16, 2013 Senzani pocketed over K21.8 million that was paid to her Visual Impact company and on August 26, 2013 she also received over K41.6 million for her company.

Namathanga-Senzani further stunned the court, when Lilongwe high court judge Justice Kamanga asked her whether she had knowledge that the money she pocketed was stolen government property when she positively responded that she was aware that she was pocketing government stolen money.

She also accepted that she knew that the money was the property of Malawi government.

Namathanga-Senzani also accepted that she received the money without rendering any service or goods to government.

ACB Deputy Director Reyneck Matemba who represented the State in prosecution of the case described the conviction as a milestone in cash gate prosecution.

He said that he is optimistic that the other cash gate cases will also speed up so that justice is seen to be done.

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