Government has given three out of six Scania Marcopolo semi-luxury coaches bought during the ‘Cashgate’ affair, to National Police Headquarters , Malawi Police, Malawi Defence Force and Prisons each.
Minister of Justice, Samuel Tembenu, confirmed that the three buses have been given for use because they were “detoriating” in condition and depreciating in value.
Tembenu said many government departments expressed interest to use the buses.
The six Cashgate buses worth K520 million ($750 361) have been at National Police Headquarters at Area 30 in Lilongwe since 2013 when Fiscal Police impounded them from the franchise supplier on allegations that they were illegally purchased with funding from the then Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture.
Tembenu said the High Court Judge Fiona Mwale granted the State permission to dispose of the buses, as the case in which the buses are part of had progressed to a stage that their disposal would not affect the outcome.
He said government will give out the remaining three buses to other departments.
Former tourism officier Leonard Kalonga pleaded guilty to the charges of money laundering and abuse of office and awaits sentencing and eas convicted on his own plea.
In his confession, Kalonga claimed that it was the then Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo who instructed him to provide K520 million to a Limbikani Gumbo in relation to the buses.
“I believed at all material times and I still believe that Mr Mphwiyo was behind the purchase of the six buses from APL [Automotive Products Ltd],” said Kalonga in his sworn-affidavit.
Mphwiyo – whose shooting outside the gate of his Area 43 house in Lilongwe on the night of September 13 2013 is widely believed to have exposed the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill later known as Cashgate -and 18 others are facing various charges in relation to the loss of K2.1 billion ($3 million) from government coffers.
Former president Joyce Banda ordered an audit which British forensic audit firm, RSM (formerly Baker Tilly UK), undertook between April and September 2013 and established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
In May last year, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :