People’s Party of former president Joyce Banda has accused the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of using businessman Oswald Lutepo, the chief suspect in the systematic plunder of government money, dubbed ‘cashgate’, to slander Banda and drag her in the matter “to divert attention” to the country’s ailing economy.
Lutepo gave an interview on Zodiak Broadcasting Station on Friday to accept that he is guilty in the plunder of public resources and apologised to the nation.
He claimed that though he defrauded government, he was used as a “conduit” and implicated former president Joyce Banda for benefitting part of his cashgate tainted money.
Banda rebutted the claims, saying they are “malicious” and calculated to drag her in the mud of cashgate.
And her party on Saturday through spokesman Ken Msonda also trashed Lutepo, saying he is speaking upon instructions from the DPP government.
PP said they have been aware that Lutepo “has been under intense pressure from the DPP administration to strike a deal “which would implicate our Banda.
“As for the timing we are not surprised either, especially given the current governance, social and economic chaos in the country right now,” reads part of the statement by Msonda.
“We are aware that the DPP Administration would like to deflect the attention of Malawians from their failure to run this government effectively by dragging the former State President Dr. Joyce Banda into the mud, but this will not work,” PP said.
But DPP spokesman Francis Kasaila dismissed the PP statement as “fallacious.”
“It utterly untrue and misleading to link DPP in Mr Oswald Lutepo’s spilling the beans on cashgate. He knows what he is talking about and as long as it’s backed with evidence, it does not need anyone to instruct him to reveal the truth,” said Kasaila.
“We in DPP are keen like all Malawians to hear the truth of cashgate,” said the DPP spokesman.
In the PP statement, Msonda said Malawians are aware that it was Banda’s government which made the decision to seriously fight corruption and plundering of government resources that resulted in the cashgate scam.
“We challenge Mr. Oswald Lutepo’s allegation that Dr. Joyce Banda was involved in cashgate, more so when one bears in mind that looting of government resources started in 2005 way before she became the Vice President and State President of this country.
“This is why Malawians are demanding that the government should undertake immediate forensic audit of the K92bn which was looted during the period 2005 to 2012. “
According to the statement, among other things, the K92 billion audit report will reveal some names which have already been implicated in the current Baker Tilly audit report.
“This will give the nation a complete picture of those who have been plundering government resources.”
Lutepo was PP executive member and the party said he came to join the Peoples Party immediately after the death of president Bingu Wa Mutharika in April, 2012
“With hind sight we now believe that Mr. Oswald Lutepo chose to join Peoples Party believing that he could get government cover for his illegal business dealings. No wonder he is angry and frustrated that the Joyce Banda government arrested him.”
PP also pointed out that Lutepo became a multimillionaire before joining the party as evidenced by his acquisition of numerous multimillion kwacha investments including Naming’omba Tea Estate bought from Chris Barrow at a whooping MK 3bn which he had not finished paying for by April, 2012.
It said that immediately Banda government started sealing all the loopholes through which government monies were being siphoned, Lutepo’s business empire began to crumble.
Msonda said any attempt by the DPP to implicate Banda as being the cause of this governments’ failure to manage the economy is “not only a serious error of judgment but also laughable and counterproductive.”
The Attorney General has since said every Malawian including Lutepo, has freedom of expression, but said he would not discuss the matter in the media opting for a judicial forum.
Lutepo 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.
Critics question Lutepo’s credibility as he once told the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court that he lied in his testimony under oath. He is also answering perjury charges.
Lutepo also wrote to the Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale withdrawing his first ‘statement’ claiming that he was forced by former Justice minister Fahad Asani, former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba and special prosecutor on Cashgate cases Kamudoni Nyasulu to write caution statements to implicate lawyers Ralph Kasambara and Wapona Kita.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :