The High Court judge Redson Kapindu has ordered Standard Bank to produce cheque images that show transactions carried on the accounts of companies owned by cashgate convict Oswald Lutepo between April and October 2013 identifying those that benefited from the infamous cashgate.
Judge Kapindu has asked Standard Bank to make available the cheque images by September 2 and has also asked the defence team to make the cheque images available to the court by September 4 when sentencing will take place.
Lutepo was convicted on his own plea of guilty of conspiracy to defraud government of K4.2 billion (($7.5 million) and money laundering.
Defence lawyer Oswald Mtupila told the court that it was unfortunate that the cheque images the bank provided earlier did not show names of those who received money from the accounts of Lutepo’s Cashgate connected companies, Woget Industries Limited and International Procurement Services.
Said Mtupila, “The bank says its policy does not allow it to give account information to the third party, we really needed this information because it will vindicate my client as he was only used as a channel to siphon money from government coffers hence the ultimate beneficiaries would be known,” he said.
He also said his counsel did not intend to dispute findings by an independent evaluator Amos Makalichi Chinkhadze of Lipindi Property Services who was hired by both the state and defence to re-evaluate Woget Industries which Lutepo restituted.
The assessor has since found that the company is worth K370 million ($658 363).
The property was a subject of controversy following huge discrepancies that followed as earlier the State found that it was worth K293 million ($521 352.31) while the defence said it was worthy K1.427 billion ($2.5 million).
The State through Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale acknowledged Lutepo’s cooperation which has made it easier for the flow of the case.
She asked the judge to be lenient with Lutepo by removing three years on the sentence.
Maximum sentence for conspiracy to defraud government is three years while money laundering is ten years.
“But I would plead with the court to give him ten years for being the first offender and for his cooperation,” Kachale said.