Freedom at last for Cashgate convict Lutepo

Cash-gate convict Oswald Lutepo
  • Released almost with a year earlier than initially what was on the sentence

Businessman Oswald Lutepo has been released from Chichiri Prison in Blantyre Friday morning after serving his 11-year jail term for money laundering and fraud in the infamous 2013 Cash-gate scandal.

On 4th September, 2015, then Zomba High Court Judge Redson Kapindu slapped him with the 11 year sentence with hard labour after pleading guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracies to defraud K4.2 billion from Malawi government

In an interview monitored on ZBS, Malawi Prisons Spokesperson Superintendent Chimwemwe Shaba indicated that Lutepo has benefitted from the Amnesty granted to inmates by President Lazarus Chakwera for pardon at a time when the country is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic which has not spared the Prisons service hence the need to de-congest.

“It is true that Mr. Oswald Lutepo has on the 14th January, 2022, been released from prison through the Blantyre Prison where he was serving his jail term; this is after he successfully completed his sentence as passed by the court.

“Inmates were being granted general Amnesty except those on life sentences, so Oswald Lutepo is a beneficiary of the same. He has benefitted from the three month General Amnesty and again there was a 9 month General Amnesty so that’s why he has been released earlier, almost with a year than what was initially on the sentence,” he said.

pro
Shaba: Lutepo is a beneficiary of a three month General Amnesty

He described the development as normal for the convict to benefit from the Amnesty just like any other Malawian.  

Lutepo was at the time of his sentencing, Recruitment Director for the former Peoples Party (PP) during Joyce Banda regime as the President of the Republic of Malawi.

In his sentencing, Judge Kapindu argued that the case Lutepo was answering to was a major and serious one, since he had gone through many African and Malawian law reports and judgments and never found a case of money laundering of that magnitude in terms of the money involved.

He went on to describe the convict as the major player in the cash-gate which had two categories including the highly strategically positioned politicians, and secondly the top civil servants and business persons; selfish and greedy who had formed the criminal enterprise network to defraud government resources at the expense of poor Malawians.

luete
A hearty welcome back as relatives converge outside Chichiri prison 

Although an educated and successful businessperson Kapindu observed that the businessman voluntarily joined the criminal enterprise.

The judge also stated that he feigned insanity that government had to spend to call for a psychiatric to test him, a development he said was a waste of time and resources

He nonetheless gave him credit for his boldness and brevity to reveal names of the beneficiaries of the cash-gate money especially politicians in court which the state could take further action from the records to bring the culprits to book.

Kapindu described the K4.2 billion as unquestionably so huge that the case was unprecedented in money laundering criminal cases in the country.

“The case has a bad dent on society. Public purse severely squeezed and there will be long effects on output and employment, prices, exchange rates, interest rates resulting in shrunk economy and most importantly, Malawians are those suffering now at the expense of few cash-gate beneficiaries” said the Judge