Sentence on convicted businessman and chief cashgate defendant Oswald Lutepo has been adjourned yet again.
Lutepo, who was convicted on his own plea of guilty on charges of conspiracy to defraud government and money laundering of K4.2 billion ($9.3 million) between April and September 2013, will wait until August 31 to mitigate his sentence. He is currently in custody.
High Court Judge Redson Kapindu in Zomba registry on Friday allowed the State and convict Lutepo to engage an independent assessor to re-evaluate part of cashgate tainted property which he intends to restitute before hearing of sentence submissions starts.
Lutepo wants to restitute his Woget Industries Limited, currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, which the State had initially targeted for confiscation.
Woget is a subject of controversy following huge discrepancies that have resulted from valuations conducted separately by the State (at K293 million) and the defence at K1.427 billion (excluding the land on which it is planted).
Other assets of Lutepo, among them, International Procurement Services, O and G Construction Limited and Naming’omba Tea Estat
Lutepo’s lawyer Oswald Mtupila told the court they had agreed with the State to appoint an independent valuer for purposes of impartial opinion on the property’s value
He asked the court to allow 14 days “us to deal with the process of obtaining an independent valuer” and then proceed with the submissions for sentencing.
Deputy director of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Reyneck Matemba abd the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale, representing the State, said it was in the interest of the State to resolve the discrepancies before sentence hearing starts
Judge Kapindu then adjourned the matter to August 31 and issued a warning that he would not tolerate any further adjournment of the case before submissions on sentencing begin.