The voices from some sections of the society have warned High Court Judge Ivy Kamanga to guard against people “taking the law into their own hands” to cashgate prisoner Teresa Namathanga if released on bail pending appeal of her three-year sentence.
Senzani, the first person convicted in a 2013 government scandal involving corruption, looting and the theft of more than $30 million in public funds, made a bail application this week through her lawyer Necton Mhura.
But comments from the society through comments on Nyasa Times and social media on the bail application warns that releasing the convicted cashgate prisoner on bail would be ” horrendously inappropriate”.
People are warning of possible vigilante attacks on Senzani is she walks free.
Already her three year sentence received a public backlash as more lenient sentence that will not deter anyone from committing a similar offense.
“A punishment is a deterrent, otherwise if we have lenient sentences, chances are that we may not be dealing with the problem because people will calculate and conclude that perhaps it is worthwhile taking a risk of being in prison for three years and thereafter enjoy millions of dollars that were stolen from government coffers,” said Ernest Thindwa, a political science lecturer at the Chancellor College of the University of Malawi.
But lawyer Mhura contends the High Court Judge should have handed a suspended sentence to his client because she had pleaded guilty and therefore did not waste time for the court.
He also believes the sentence should have been lenient because the convict is a first offender and that charges placed against her were not ‘severe’.
Senzani, the former principal secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, had pleaded guilty to stealing about $150,000 (about K63 million) in the financial scam, referred to in Malawi as the Cashgate scandal, which prompted donor partners to withdraw their budgetary support to the country.