Verbatim from the Daily Times: Former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Raphael Kasambara has accused the State of shielding former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo and businessman cum politician Osward Lutepo prosecution alleging the two of being main catalysts of the massive looting of state funds famously known as Cashgate scandal.
Kasambara, who is answering money laundering charges and has also been charged with conspiracy to commit murder in connection to the shooting of Mphwiyo in September last year, made the allegations in interviews he granted the media at Lilongwe Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Kasambara said he has been made a scapegoat in the fallout of the Cashgate scandal but insisted that his conscience was clear that he never participated in neither of the crimes.
The former minister further said the money laundering charges against him were vague and part of political harassment using the state machinery.
We should first be told that Lutepo stole the money at MDF (Malawi Defence Force) and then perhaps gave the illegal money to Pika (Manondo). But how could Pika have known that the money was illegally obtained. Why is it that government is not telling us that money was stolen at MDF? The charges against me are vague. Its harassment and a political gimmick. They are failing to prove the shooting charges and now want to implicate me in the mud of looting,” said Kasambara.
You go to Area 30 (Police headquarters), you find several vehicles of people seized. Why haven’t Lutepo’s vehicles not been taken from him? Why is he being given VIP treatment? Why is Paul Mphwiyo just roaming in the streets and not being charged with money laundering? Why is he not even suspended from work? Lutepo and Mphwiyo were at the centre of the looting,” alleged Kasambara.
He said the origins of the scandal were a Cashgate scheme where what he termed the Zomba Mafia who decided on how to loot the state and allocated certain people positions in government to give each other positions to facilitate the looting and not the ruling party People’s Party as others allege.
Kasambara further revealed he has mentioned President Joyce Banda as his witness in the Mphwiyo shooting as the president had stated soon after the attack during her address in Lunzu, Blantyre, that she knew who were behind the shooting and that she knew the reasons for the attack.
He added State House was his “alibi” as he had meetings there on the day of shooting hence his mentioning of other State House officials as his defense witnesses.
Kasambara’s co-accused Pika Manondo, who flanked the former minister, said government has been pushing him to implicate Kasambara by organising meetings with Lutepo and said the nation will never know the real truth about Cashgate if the current administration remains in power.
The cheque which we have been shown says the money was stolen on 27th July but the charge against Lutepo is that the money was stolen in August, why is the Director of Public Prosecutions not revealing where this money was stolen from? Is the DPP deliberately charging Lutepo with a wrong crime or he is ignoring another crime?” quizzed Manondo.
But Director of Public Prosecutions Bruno Kalemba yesterday denied that the state was shielding Mphwiyo or Lutepo saying investigations were on-going and urged anyone with information to come forward to relevant investigating agencies.
The court record in Zomba will show that as part of his bail conditions, Osward Lutepo was ordered to disclose all his property and the same was attached and further all his known bank accounts were restricted by a warrant obtained by ACB. The size of the fraud that was perpetrated is such that more arrests will inevitably come, and other than saying they will tell the nation the truth when time comes. Those that have information will do the nation well by telling investigating authorities what they know now so that we can save time and money,” said Kalemba.
Slowly but surely, the truth has started flowing. We will stay tuned.