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APM pardons Cashgate convict

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PRESIDENT Peter Mutharika has pardoned Cashgate convict, Esnart Ndovi, few months before she completed her sentence.

She is one of the 378 prisoners Mutharika pardoned as part of celebrations marking the country’s 53 years of independence. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu has said the decision was made based on Ndovi’s health.

She was, in November 2015, on her own plea of guilty, convicted of charges of lending a certificate for personation and money laundering, involving K12.9 million. Magistrate Patrick Chirwa eventually handed her a three-year jail term.

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“It is not the intention of government to be pardoning people with serious offences. When pardoning people, we look at those who have served at least half of their sentences, those not convicted of murder charges and probably not Cashgate.

Esnart Ndovi has not been enjoying good health. She has been constantly seeking specialised medical attention. Sometimes you consider such factors. And she is not the first one to be considered for pardon on that ground,” Tembenu said.

According to sources at Maula Prison, she was expected to be released from custody in February next year. The Sunday Times understands that Ndovi, is one of the 47 people pardoned at the prison and was released on Wednesday.

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She was the fifth person, after the late Tressa Senzani, Oswald Lutepo, Leonard Kalonga and Khuzo James Bandura Chirwa to plead guilty to Cashgate charges.  After pleading guilty, she surrendered a Toyota Hilux, whose value was said to be K15 million, as a way of paying back the K12.9 million.

Apart from paying back the money, she also cited her medical condition as well as her plea of guilty as grounds for a non-custodial sentence, but magistrate Chirwa gave the custodial sentence.

Her subsequent appeal against the sentence was last year dismissed by the High Court.

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