The High Court in Zomba will on July 30 impose a sentence on convicted businessperson and former People’s Party (PP) national governing council (NGC) member Oswald Lutepo.
Lutepo was convicted on his own plea of guilty on charges of conspiracy to defraud government and money laundering K4.2 billion ($9.3 million) between April and September 2013.
He pleaded guilty to the charges last month.
“The court has set July 30 for sentencing, but we are yet to exchange written submissions with the prosecution,” Lutepo’s lawyer, Oswald Mtupila, said in an interview yesterday.
Money laundering attracts a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and K2 million ($4 444) fine while conspiracy to defraud government attracts an imprisonment sentence of three years, according to Section 323 of the Penal Code.
Mtupila also said the court would make a determination on what pecuniary penalties would be meted out on his client following applications from the prosecution to confiscate property and other assets belonging to Lutepo.
The businessperson-cum-politician risks losing assets of his companies, among them, International Procurement Services, O and G Construction Limited, Woget Cotton Ginning which is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings and Naming’omba Tea Estates.
Lutepo has since submitted to the court, as ordered, a list of all his companies’ assets and all other assets under his control, whether in or outside Malawi and whether in his own name or not and whether solely or jointly owned, giving the details, value and location of all such assets.
Lutepo is the seventh person to be convicted on Cashgate related charges since trials began in February 2014, but the highest sentence imposed for money laundering has so far been seven years the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court imposed on civil servant Victor Sithole.