The Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) has queried government to formally submit the CCTV footage of former president Joyce Banda’s 23 meetings with chief Cashgate suspect, Oswald Lutepo, and other senior People’s Party (PP) members at four different state residences in the country as government claimed.
Government though its spokesman Kondwani Nankhumwa said last year that they handed over the footage to Malawi’s corruption-busting body for forensic examination and further action.
But the bureau insists they have no copies of the CCTV footage.
On Tuesday, ACB Director General, Lucas Kondowe told a news conference that there is no record of the CCTV copies at the bureau.
“We have been very consistent and explained our position. We have not yet received the said files,” Kondowe told reporters in Blantyre.
He said ACB wrote government to explain its position on the alleged CCTV files but there was no response.
Kondowe has since described the issue of the CCTV files as “speculative” at this moment, adding “We don’t know what is in the files”.
“It’s difficult at this stage to determine how relevant the CCTV footage will be. If they are handed over, we will analyse what the footage is trying to prove,” said the anti –corruption Czar.
ACB Director of Investigations, Dan Mponda added: “The bureau has high interest in the CCTV if really they do exist. The ACB has mandate to make inquiry why such allegation was made.”
Nankhumwa maintained that government handed the CCTV footage to ACB and also documents that prove that Lutepo booked and attended the meetings with Banda between December 2012 and September 2013.
Banda, through her personal assistant, Andekuche Chanthunya, said the government’s claim about the CCTV footage is a desperate attempt to divert people’s attention away from the worsening economic situation.
He said the Malawi government is determined to implicate Banda, in the scam through various means.
“It’s not strange that Lutepo and other senior PP members had meetings with Banda because Lutepo was an executive member of the party,” Chanthunya said.
He added that the CCTV cameras at all state residences have not been functional for some time until the time Banda left office as Head of State.
“At Kamuzu Palace, for instance, the CCTV cameras stopped working in 2010 during the reign of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika. It is, therefore, surprising for government to claim they have the said CCTV footage,” he said.
Nankhumwa has however dismissed fears that government is on a political witch-hunt against Banda, the country’s first-ever female president, saying they handed the alleged CCTV footage following L utepo’s allegations in the local media that he was used as a conduit to siphon off billions of public funds through dubious deals by the former president.
But Banda argues that the move by government vindicates her fears that some quarters are using Lutepo as “a pawn to drag her name in the mud”.
Lutepo confessed on radio that he was guilty swindling the state, but said he had personally delivered some cash donations to Banda during her term as president for her party campaign.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :