Malawi Government is yet to determine what to do with the mansion convicted former Ministry of Tourism principal secretary Tressa Namathanga Senzani restituted last year.
Senzani, the first Cashgate suspect to be convicted and sentenced, surrendered her upmarket house located in Lilongwe’s Area 47 suburb before pleading guilty in court.
Besides the house valued at about K61 million ($116 412), the convict also paid back K2 million ($3 817) in cash to offset the K63 million ($120 229) which she stole from government coffers.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director general Reyneck Matemba said in an interview on Friday the house was still in government’s custody as it contemplates what to do with it.
He said: “The property is in the custody of government… But it is yet to decide whether to keep [as its building] or sell it, that is an internal arrangement. It will decide through the relevant ministries of Lands and Justice, but at the moment all documents of the house are still with the ACB.”
The 50-year-old Senzani was on October 3 2014 sentenced to three years and nine months custodial sentences on money laundering and theft charges respectively after she pleaded guilty on August 28 2014. The two sentences are running concurrently, meaning that she will only serve for three years.
She was arrested by ACB on October 21 2013 after the bureau received a complaint alleging that some government officers at Capital Hill were making entries in the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) and siphoning out money.
Main Cashgate suspect Oswald Lutepo also plans to restitute his Woget Industries Limited which the State had initially targeted for confiscation.
However, the property is a subject of controversy following huge discrepancies that have resulted from valuations conducted separately by the State and defence.
While the defence is valuing the property at K1.427 billion [$2.7 million] (excluding the land on which it is planted), State valuers have put the property at K293 million ($559 160.31).
Lutepo was convicted in June 2015 on his own plea of guilty on charges of conspiracy to defraud government and money laundering K4.2 billion ($8 million), but is yet to be sentenced.