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Court reduces Cashgate convict’s sentence

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The High Court in Lilongwe on Tuesday reduced the sentence meted out on Cashgate convict, Wyson Zinyemba Soko, following his conviction on money laundering and theft charges.

In November 2014, the then Senior Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa convicted Zinyemba Soko on the two charges and, in January 2015, sentenced him to seven-and-half years’ imprisonment.

The charges were based on the government’s loss of K40.9 million.

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But following the appeal Soko made through lawyer Henry Kadzakumanja, High Court judge Esmie Chombo has scrapped the three-and-half-year sentence for theft.

In his submissions for appeal, Kadzakumanja argued that the magistrate’s court erred in law in convicting Soko on the offence of theft, saying the evidence that was presented by the State was not sufficient to prove the charge.

“The evidence [presented] by the State had some shortfalls and the learned magistrate erred in holding that evidence by the State that would warrant the conviction herein,” Kadzakumanja said.

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The lawyer also appealed to the court to acquit his client on the sentence he got following his conviction on the money laundering charge.

However, in a judgement delivered in her chambers, Chombo upheld the four-year sentence on money laundering.

Lawyer in Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office, Mathews Kabwazi, said, “in terms of sentence, Soko remains with four years of money laundering.”

According to Kadzakumanja, Soko is now a free man considering that he has been in prison for four years.

Soko was in November 2014 found guilty of processing about K40, 953,287 from his account but without offering any service to the Ministry of Tourism.

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