The High Court in Zomba on Monday adjourned the sentencing of Cashgate convict Oswald Lutepo to Friday, August 4, 2015.

Lutepo was convicted on his own plea of guilty on charges of conspiracy to defraud government and money laundering of K4.2 billion ($9.3 million) between April and September 2013.

During the mitigation stage on Monday, Lutepo’s lawyer Oswald Mtupila pleaded before Justice Redson Kapindu for leniency.

Mtupila argued that the court needs to consider the fact that Lutepo did not waste court’s time, money and that he cooperated in giving information on cashgate.

“Lutepo took a bold decision to plead guilty to the charges. Court should take that into consideration when passing sentence,” he said.

Mtupila added that since Lutepo has engaged the state with a view to restitute some of his property, the court should be lenient with the sentence.

On her Part, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale said Lutepo needs a stiffer punishment arguing that Lutepo has wasted government’s money.

She cited hiring of a psychologist to assess Lutepo as one way in which government spent money.

On restitution, Kachale argued that by agreeing to restitute his property, Lutepo agrees that he took part in the embezzlement.

“The fact that his companies were used to steal money from government making Malawians suffer is like armed robbery although no guns were used,” she said.

Kachale told the court that on money laundering the maximum is 10 years but can be given 9 years. On conspirancy to defraud government, the maximum is 3 years but can be given 1 year.

She said this has taken into consideration that Lutepo cooperated and that he is a first offender.

She said the sentences should run consecutively or accumulatively.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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