Cashgate convict Angella Katengeza has pleaded with the High Court to spare her a custodial sentence because she did not make substantial benefit from the K105.9 million (about $157 000) laundered from the government coffers.
Katengeza was charged alongside former assistant director of tourism, Leonard Kalonga, for conspiring to use the former’s Faith Construction Company to defraud government.
Both denied the charges of theft and money laundering.
However, High Court judge Fiona Mwale ruled, after thorough and rigorous court processes, that the prosecution had established a case against them.
When she appeared for mitigation yesterday, defence lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa asked the court to consider handing his client a non-custodial sentence.
He described Katengeza as a “woman of good character and an upright person who was only brought into the scheme by Kalonga”.
Submitted Khonyongwa: “Save for this unfortunate incident, my client had demonstrated good character throughout her service. She is a pastor. Her involvement in this incident should eclipse her good character.”
He further said the loss of business and bad media publicity Katengeza has been subjected to since the onset of the trial should weigh in favour of her when the court is coming up with the sentence.
He further asked the court to take into consideration that the convict only benefitted K2 million (about $3 000) of the K105.9 million.
“It is my prayer, therefore, that this court should consider a non-custodial sentence,” he said.
But State prosecutor and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director general Reyneck Matemba contended that meting out a suspended sentence on Katengeza would send a “very bad signal to would-be offenders”.
Matemba said theft and money laundering are among serious offences (felony) in the country and deserve custodial sentences in all circumstances.
Mwale told the two parties that she will inform them later on the date upon which she will deliver her sentence.