Malawi: Jail Sentence in Cashgate Scandal

As investigations into Malawi's Cashgate scandal continue, the Supreme Court has handed down a hefty jail sentence for money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the government.

Oswald Lutepo with his lawyerA court docket in Malawi has handed down a jail sentence to a serious determine within the “Cashgate” scandal, which led to a number of donor nations reducing their contributions to the federal government. The scandal helped push former president Joyce Banda out of energy. Her successor, Peter Mutharika, has appealed to the World Financial institution for extra assist and final month canceled a visit to a regional summit in Botswana as a way to lower your expenses.

Cashgate is the largest monetary scandal in Malawi’s historical past. Authorities officers allegedly exploited a loophole in a computer-based info storage system to divert as much as $250 million (225 million euros) from authorities coffers. Donor nations had been outraged and withheld $150 million of assist. As much as 40 p.c of Malawi’s annual funds is donor-funded.

Final yr, Germany, one of many nations that suspended assist to Malawi after information broke of the graft scandal, granted the nation $25 million to conduct an audit into the fraud.

On Friday the Excessive Court docket in Zomba, southern Malawi, sentenced businessman Oswald Lutepo to a complete of 11 years in jail, eight for cash laundering and three for conspiracy to defraud the federal government. Lutepo’s lawyer Oswald Mtupila had pleaded for leniency initially of the week. He instructed the court docket that Lutepo had taken “a daring determination” to plead responsible to the crimes dedicated between April and September 2013. Nonetheless, presiding Decide Redson Kapindu stated a custodial sentence was the one verdict potential for such severe offenses. On-line newspaper Nyasa Instances says Lutepo “appeared grumpy” because the sentence was handed down. He has pledged to struggle for minority rights whereas in jail.

Banda and Cashgate

Previous to the sentencing, Lutepo addressed the media and stated he had been only a minor participant in Cashgate, and he urged others to admit their wrongdoings. He stated Joyce Banda had used him to plunder state assets.

Former president Joyce Banda in a pink dress

Joyce Banda was president of Malawi from April 2012 to Could 2014

Banda was president of Malawi from April 2012 to Could 2014 and was the southern African nation’s first feminine president. In 2014 Forbes Journal named her essentially the most highly effective girl in Africa.

Because the investigations into Cashgate proceed, many Malawians imagine Banda is not directly related to the huge plundering of presidency funds. DW correspondent Mirriam Kaliza says “Some quarters, akin to civil society teams, say she wants to come back and clear the air.”

Banda has launched a number of statements, however Kaliza says the Anti-Corruption Bureau continues to be gathering proof of potential hyperlinks between the previous president and Cashgate, and she or he could also be required to return dwelling for questioning. She has been in a foreign country on non-public engagements since late June, 2014, and is at present in South Africa.

(DW)

Aline Niyonkuru

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