The Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale has against justified that he stopped the names of companies and businesspersons implicated in the K230 billion Cashgate report to avoid a scenario like the one which former president Joyce Banda’s son, Roy Kachale, is suing government for defamation after he was named in a 2013 audit report as having been involved in the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.
Kaphale stopped Public Accounts Committee (PAC), National Audit Office (NAO) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) from releasing names of companies and businesspersons implicated in the K230 billion Cashgate report.
He asked the institutions not to publish the names as government is yet to verify any wrongdoing on part of the implicated companies.
Speaking on Daybreak Malawi program on Capital Radio, Kaphale said government can avoild losing billions in lawsuits if it waits to release only names that will be prosecuted for suspectd wrongdoing and leave out those that will be cleared.
“I read on Nyasa Times that kachale has sued government, exactly the reasons why I said government should be careful in releasing the names,” said Kaphale on Capital Radio.
“If we reveal all names, these companies could sue government in the event that the names are published and no wrongdoing is found [like Roy Kachale’s case],” he said.
Kaphale added: “We want to run away from possibility of lawsuits especially those that may not be prosecuted because they will be cleared.”
Quized on speculations that the audit include names of ministers implicated in the scandal, Kaphalee dismissed the assertions as baseless.
“There has been a lot of talk of cabinet ministers, but I did not see names of ministers,” he said.
Justine Dzonzi, a law expert and executive director of Justice Link said Kaphale’s opinion “ make sense.”
Kachale, who is also Zomba Malosa member of Parliament (MP) affiliated to People’s Party (PP), through private practice lawyer Mapopa Kumwenda is claiming undisclosed amount of money for defamation, according to civil case number 273 at the High Court in Blantyre.
In September 2014, RMS (formely Baker Tilly of London) published an audit report on Fraud and Mismanagement of Finances on behalf of the Malawi Government linking Kachale to businessperson Caroline Savala.
“On pages 50, 115,116 and 117 of the said Report the Auditor General wrote, printed and published or caused to be printed words defamatory of Mr Kachale. They are trying to link our client of an alleged relationship to Caroline Savala and hence dragging him into this Cashgate fiasco,” said lawyer Kumwenda.
Kumwenda said the words used and published in the report lower Kachale”s estimation in the minds of right thinking members of society.
He said: “We contend that the words are false and constitute a grave libel of Mr Kachale, as the said words in their natural and ordinary meaning, mean or are understood to mean that: Our client was a deceptive, manipulative, cunning and irresponsible person at the time when he was vying for a Public Office and that he was involved in plundering of government resources.”
The High Court convicted Savala in 2015 for theft and money laundering of K84.9 million from Ministry of Tourism through her Carm Civil Engineering Company.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :