On Tuesday, August 18, Allan Ntata delivered his widely publicized public lecture on curtailing corruption and released his long awaited Cash-gate analysis report entitled, “From a Looting to a Kill: Analysing a Legacy of Institutionalized Corruption in Malawi.”
The report was built on facts gathered from his previous Cash-gate report, “Licence to Loot” which exposed corruption between 2012 and 2014 during the administration of Joyce Banda. Ntata also analysed facts from the Baker Tilly audit report which Joyce Banda had commissioned and PriceWaterhouseCoopers’s (PwC) analytics report commissioned by Peter Mutharika to audit government from 2009 when DPP was in power.
Before I render my analysis, which will focus only on what I feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the report, let me congratulate Ntata for his endless effort and courage to fight against corruption and bad governance in Malawi. The task is indescribably huge and feared by many, but he has proved over and over again that his spirit is unconquerable.
As usual, Ntata has done a commendable job on the report owing to his vast experience and scholarly expertise in anti-corruption and governance, and also his talents of eloquence and analytical reasoning. Right from the packaging of the document, from the cover page, through the six chapters to the very last page, Ntata has excellently designed and presented the content in a manner that lives up to his profession and ingenuity.
His exposition of loopholes of IFIMIS and financial operations in government departments, and his practical recommendations on the needed reforms to create a fraud-proof financial management system is very impressive. His brilliant arguments against the abuse of Executive powers by political leaderships and how that facilitates corruption in public and private sectors of our society cannot go unacknowledged.
Ntata has also presented a highly imperative statistical analysis of the human cost of corruption in Malawi in Chapter 4, which illustrates, how as a donor dependent nation, Cash-gate has left our nation poorer and underdeveloped through perpetual aid withdrawal and misappropriation of funding. My favourite, however, is Chapter 6, “People Power” where Ntata has with so much regret, decried the passivity and ignorance of the citizens of Malawi which has enable politicians and crooked civil servants to loot government coffers, in the absence of strong demand for transparency and accountability. Ntata has also challenged young people to fight against corruption in government by exposing corrupt practices even through the social network to ignite an anti-corruption revolution.
But the report has its own disappointments and disturbing areas too. The first disappointment is that the report is a mere analysis of facts already known. Of course, Ntata himself made it very clear in the foreword that he was not going to provide a forensic and audit report, because he is convinced that the previous forensic reports have not done much to curb corruption.
But his analysis document has cheated the public because Ntata’s mega campaign and publicity for the launch of the report suggested that he was going to expose and tell Malawians what they did not know about Cashgate. He made it look like he was going to spill some beans. Therefore, though the analysis is just brilliant and convincing, it has failed to meet the expectations of Malawians who are craving for answers to the mystery behind MKW 570 billion Cashgate between 2009 until 2012, and had hoped he would resolve that to a reasonable extent.
Of course, Ntata did hint in the report that he did not intend to expose much considering that there is already a forensic and audit report going on by PwC and he would not interfere with it. But I recall Ntata did not have problems with interfering with Baker Tilly when he released his “Licence to Loot.”
A controversial part of the report is Ntata’s own confession that his earlier report, “Licence to Loot “was faulty especially on the role of Paul Mphwiyo in Cashgate. Ntata has confessed that Mphwiyo was not part of the Cashgate looters, and was indeed shot because of attempting to fight against the corruption.
I honestly applaud Ntata for his ethical conduct and professionalism to exonerate Mphwiyo after bumping into more credible information which contradicted his earlier report. Ntata has faulted his sources at State House and the Ministry of Justice for plotting to mislead his report, and also the media for twisting the story of Mphwiyo. However, this does not only question Ntata’s position when he was investigating the 2012/2013 Cashgate scandal, but also raises a few questions on the degree of the involvement of Joyce Banda in the Cashgate and her connections to the looters.
Banda was the first to exonerate Mphwiyo soon after the assassination attempt. Banda announced that she knew individuals that attempted the assassination, and that they needed Mphwiyo dead because he was about to bust a corruption syndicate.
It is my feeling therefore, that by exonerating Mphwiyo,Ntata has given the public a new perspective into the honesty of Banda, even smeared by chief Cashgate culprit, Osward Lutepo that he surrendered Cashgate spoils to her.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :