Malawi 'Cashgate' scandal official jailed for 11 years

2015-09-04 18:58
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Zomba - Malawi's high court on Friday sentenced former senior official Oswald Lutepo to 11 years in prison for his role in the "Cashgate" corruption scandal that led to a cut in foreign aid to the impoverished country.

Lutepo was the chief suspect in the fraud, which was the biggest financial scandal in Malawi's history and helped push former president Joyce Banda out of power at last year's elections.

"The convict will serve a total of 11 years in prison," Judge Redson Kapindu said in his ruling, adding that the scandal had had a "bad impact on Malawi society and those responsible should be held to account”.

He said Lutepo was "clearly a major player in this grave economic crime against the people of Malawi."

Lutepo, who had previously pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of $9.3m, looked composed as the sentence was handed down, and said he would appeal.

"The judge has been inconsiderate, because I pleaded guilty on my own undertaking," he told AFP in the heavily-guarded court.

"That should have been considered."

Lutepo was given eight years for money laundering and three years for conspiracy to defraud the state due to "the exceptional gravity of the offences and the gigantic sums of money involved," the judge said.

"I have found no single case of such huge proportions in Malawi," he added.

Lutepo, who accuses Banda of being behind the scandal, was arrested in 2013 on suspicion of pocketing money from government coffers through ghost companies which did not provide any services to the state.

The scandal, which originated in 2005, prompted foreign donors - who provide around 40% of Malawi's budget - to pull the plug on aid worth around $150m.

An audit ordered by former president Banda found that $30m had been looted by officials in less than six months in 2013.

Dozens of civil servants, business people and politicians have been implicated in the scam.

Four people have now been jailed.

"I am happy with the verdict... this is what I expected," Reneck Matemba, deputy head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau which was prosecuting the case, told AFP.

Lutepo attended court in a wheelchair saying he was too unwell to walk but the judge dismissed his claim.

Read more on:    malawi  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.