Lutepo jailed 11 years, his illness raises suspicion


The High Court in Zomba has sentenced Cashgate convict Oswald Lutepo to 11 years imprisonment for money laundering which has attracted eight years and three years for conspiracy to defraud the government.

Just before his entry into the court room, Lutepo blamed former President Joyce Banda for using him in the process of siphoning money from the government coffers.

Lutepo said Joyce Banda used his account numbers to bank money that was financing her Peoples Party.


Meanwhile, despite having no any scientific examination or explanations from doctors as to why Lutepo has been using a wheelchair since December last year, the State has also remained blind and dumb over the matter until today when he has been sentenced.

Since July 2014, the public has witnessed drama in and outside the courtrooms following Lutepo’s arrest over charges of money laundering and defrauding government of K4.2 billion.

Among others, in April this year, two psychiatrists said the convict was faking madness and on the other hand he has implicated people in the case only to apologise to Malawians for being used in the crime.


“What went wrong I cannot say but the medical experts can explain. He has been requesting that he should meet his doctors but there have been some hiccups here and there,” explained Lutepo’s lawyer, Oswald Mtupila when asked about factors that triggered the convict to be using a wheelchair.

Lutepo, according to Mtupila, started using the wheelchair after suffering what is described as an anxiety disorder.

“There’s no any scientific explanation, but he says he cannot lift his legs. He feels numbed that’s what he informed me…” he narrated.

When asked how the court and state believes the convict purpoted illness, Mtupila explained that the court is basing [its decision on] the report submitted to it by psychiatrists “so the court is not basing that he is indeed sick”.

“But then I brought the attention of the court that they should not look at the academic report done by the psychiatrists. The court should consider the reality on the ground that is, how can a person be faking illness all this time?” He said.

Mtupila argued that a psychiatrist is not a physiotherapist, adding that the prison authorities had been insisting that medical doctors within the service can provide the service needed.

Mtupila said between the convict and Malawi Prison Services an agreement was entered aimed at ensuring that fellow prisoners escort the convict to bathroom and toilet but he did not explain whether the agreement involves monetary terms or not.

Malawi Prison Service Chief Commissioner, Kennedy Nkhoma refused to explain Lutepo’s problem, saying the convict is better placed to explain.

“I think it is Lutepo himself who can tell you whether he has any medical problem. It is not our duty to disclose somebody’s medical condition,” Nkhoma said.

But he further said the convict can require medical help within the facility if need arises and if the situation worsens, he can be referred to any facility of his choice. Efforts to get a comment from the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) on the matter, were unsuccessful as the ACB Deputy Director, Reyneck Matemba would not pick our calls.

Media reports have indicated that several charges against the convict have been removed due to his cooperation with the State.

A British forensic audit firm Baker Tilly,  established that between April and September 2013, about K24 billion of public funds were abused through payments for goods and services not rendered; inflated payments and payments without supporting documentation.

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