C’mon, Mr. Minister! Muckracking on Malawi ‘cashgate’ justice

I’m for truth, no matter who tells it; I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or againstMalcolm X

 This week was dramatic enough we needed no additional executive comedy from the likes of Kondwani Nankhumwa.

Mphwiyo: Standing where he was shot

Mphwiyo: Standing where he was shot

Look, the arrest of Paul Mphwiyo, him whose September 13, 2013, shooting unravelled the whole ‘cashgate’ affair, was dramatic enough we needed no mirthless jokes from the Information Minister.

Look, Mphwiyo’s shooting as he drove into his villa from a night out with the boys opened a can of worms. Huge sums of money, like confetti at some victory party, started showing up in impossible places – stuffed in baby dolls, hidden in car boots or stashed under beds or pillows.

As we have come to know now, there was no way these monies could have found themselves before a teller in a high street bank lest a few uncomfortable questions were asked.

So we thought Mphwiyo was the magic bullet to solve this dramatic tale of our times.

But, hell no! The Anti-Corruption Bureau, them whose thankless job is to check corruption in Malawi, had other ideas. They nabbed the guy and his wife.

As if that was not dramatic enough, the top cop we entrusted to get to the bottom of the whole ‘cashgate’ saga was himself found on the wrong side of the law he was supposed to enforce.

The arrest of the former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Nelson Bophani, is the most interesting so far. Despite stopping three bullets, most of us suspected Mphwiyo had a few clarifications to make. Look, the office of the Ministry of Finance Budget Director, if truth be told, was not as sexy until the young chap occupied it.

So he needed to answer a question or two. Of course, no human being deserves three bullets to answer any question.

But the arrest of Bophani is Agatha Christie and James Hardley Chase rolled into one.

Look, Bophani was in charge of the whole ‘cashgate’ investigations. This means an impressionable young chap like Victor Sithole, who I believe, did not even know how many zeros are in K112 million before somebody roped him into the ‘cashgate’ scheme, had to bare it all to Bophani.

In the parlance of my senior colleague across the street the Raw Stuffer, Bophani was the ‘gear-box’ of the whole ‘cashgate’ investigations. So to have the hunter hunted, as it were, is quite interesting.

There was in fact a time when Bophani was the de facto Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service. My good friend Lot Dzonzi did not feature a lot as his supposed deputy waltzed lyrical about ‘cashgate’.

So, ordinarily, we should have thought the arrests of Mphwiyo and Bophani were enough drama for one week.

But, hell no! Kondwani Nankhumwa wanted a piece of the action.

I am not sure what illegal stuff my good friend, him whose job is to spruce up the often battered image of government, was high on. But, in his wisdom, the Information Minister believes the thieves who stole billions of our money are patriotic enough they will hand themselves over to the police or the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

Nankhumwa, the patriot he is, is calling upon everyone who knows is “in one way or another involved in the plundering of the country’s coffers, to surrender themselves.”

But the minister is not done. He is even extending his patriotic call across the borders. He is saying those people who somehow skipped the borders but somehow feel culpable “to quickly come home to face justice.”

Well, well, well, whenever I feel inspired I do dabble in fiction. But my mentors always tell me the term ‘stranger than fiction’ came forth because, even if it is fiction, it has to possess some elements of believability.

In his heart of hearts, does Nankhumwa really believe the ‘cashgate’ crooks are so patriotic they are so sorry they stole public money and they no longer wish government to spend more by hunting them down?

In the first place, these guys knew what they were doing was wrong. That is the very reason they set up phoney companies and phoney contracts with government.

Is Nankhumwa so naïve to believe that suddenly these guys are so remorseful they will be running to the nearest police post to report themselves in? Mr. Minister, these are thieves whose first instinct is to circumvent the law, for crying out loud!

By the way, they say you are not a thief until you are caught. Now Nankhumwa is saying those who know they dipped their fingers in the kitty should show up at police posts or ACB offices.

How will they begin to introduce themselves? “Look, Mr. Officer, me I am  Mr….I…I…”

C’mon, Mr. Minister, I personally do not support the publication of ‘cashgate’ suspects’ names before conclusion of investigations. But, from your reasoning, Sir, your government might as well just publish the Baker Tilly report. Yes, only then will I present myself and say, “I’m the Muckraker; my name is on Page 94 on the Baker Tilly report…”

And, in the same breath, Nankhumwa is saying government is not interfering with the ‘cashgate’ investigation. C’mon, Mr. Minister, by telling ‘cashgaters’ to report themselves to police, you are more than interfering, you are actually confusing the investigations.

Look, Malawians would have liked the ‘cashgate’ thing to be dealt with yesterday. But these are legal issues that need thorough investigations. That is why the ACB is meticulously analysing all data before it before pouncing on the suspected bad guys.

Now you want the thousands of potential ‘cashgaters’ to swamp the ACB offices. How is the bureau, already complaining of shortage of staff, going to process them? And where are they going to be kept? In the new Chinese stadium?

Good people, we all want to get to the bottom of ‘cashgate’ because it is killing us. Look, the British are even saying even the current wave of arrests are not good enough, the dragnet should go back to 2005.

That notwithstanding we need to be not only serious but also sober about it. Let the prosecuting authorities get proper warrants of arrest for dockets whose investigations have been completed and effect arrests.

If those whose dockets are ripe for action but happen to be beyond the borders, Nankhumwa should know there is Interpol that can help us track down the crooks. We can also explore extradition treaties for those who may openly try to hide in some countries.

Let the ACB do its job without executive pressure. They are professionals; they do not need any executive help, Mr. Minister!

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14 thoughts on “C’mon, Mr. Minister! Muckracking on Malawi ‘cashgate’ justice”

  1. JAYJAY says:

    ABOMBDAY
    YOU ARE MISSING A POINT,THE DPP GOVNT IS SAYING THAT IT IS NOT INTERFERING WITH THE ACB OR CASHGATE ISSUE ,NOW TELL ME IF THE CHINESE DID SAY WERE NOT INTERFERRING WITH THE INVESTGATIONS.READING WIDELY DOES NOT MEAN YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU READ

  2. getrude says:

    I THINK MALAWI REVENUE AUTHORITY AND ROAD TRAFFIC ALL NEED INVESTIGATING AS THE CASHGATE EXTENDS TO THEM AS WELL ,SERIOUSLY AS MANY CARS AS AVIS HAS OR AXA BUS SELVICE OR U.D.K BUS SELVICE AND NATIONAL BUS CAMPANY ,HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THEM AT ROAD TRAFFIC FOR INSPECTION TO GET CERTIFICATE OF FITNESS, HAVE YOU WONDERED WHY? ITS BECAUSE THE C.O.F FINDS THEM AT THE OFFICES , AND HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE , CASHGATE. DAHHHH

  3. Baisoni Thom says:

    Hear, hear! Well spoken Mr. Tenthani. Malawi is being run by such incompetents that it boggles the mind! And a leader is judged by those who surround him. If this idiot called Nakhumwa is the best there was in the DPP, then all it does is to reveal to us what we have at the top!

    Mutharika and his bunch of election thieves would like to dazzle us into some hypnotical slumber that something is being done when in actual fact nothing is being done. What utter fools…

  4. nambe says:

    sure thieves use that”its illegal once you are caught” there4 cashgaters need a cat&rat chase!

  5. petrol kali says:

    Number 4 akuti chani kodi? number 4 ndiwe munthu opnda nzeru. Kondwani nankhuma ndiwopusa kwambiri i think ali ndi unongo instesd of ubongo wangokula mutu ameneyo munthu wopusa kwambiri. Ngati ulibe chichita pitani kumdulidwe a abambo

    1. Kanyimbi says:

      Hahahahahahah! pwetekanani!!!

  6. bombsday says:

    Ok,let us agree that it is less likely that those who dipped their hands into the public kitty and stole the taxpayers money will be handing themselves in to face trials but I beg to differ with the notion that by asking them to avail themselves to face justice then the govt is interfering with the ongoing cashgate cases.Nothing can be farther from the truth.

    Those who follow international politics can easily understand the Minister’s statement.The Chinese govt is also asking the Chinese fugitives who fled China and got themselves holed up in Western countries after stealing large sums of govt money to return home and face justice.Of course, I am not making this stuff up,if you do read widely you should be able to know what I am talking about here.In fact,the Chinese govt is reporting that this ”come back home and face justice” campaign is bearing fruits as some of these fugitives have already returned home to face trial.Now,it could be that the Chinese govt is also taking some actions to lure these fugitives but the fact still remains that asking people to avail themselves to face justice is not peculiar and naive as some commentators would like to make us believe.

    It is not interfering with court cases,nor it is a threat to democracy and the rule of law.

    1. bombsday says:

      I know someone will ask,but China is not a democracy so how can we take it as a model?

      Well,as long as the campaign is transparent and it guarantees respect of human rights,then it is OK.

  7. eye eye says:

    Ralph, a suspect is a suspect so naming them does not mean that they are convicted..it happens in all other cases where the police does name so and so as suspects and taken for further questioning………so dont back the ‘hiding’ of the naming of the cashgate suspects..thats unlike you! Just to be suspected means a lot in itself…get what I mean?

  8. Ngakha says:

    Mr Tenthani, we know you are mourning with JB. You will write eeeee mpakana 2029. JB will never rule this country. Who does not know that Bophani was employed for dirty works? Amvatu kuwawa ameneyo.

    1. basikolo says:

      Ngakha

      Its your time enjoy it. 2005 investigations are under way. Musathe mau.

  9. Tengupenya says:

    The executive should not be cosmetic about cashgate. it will take years to clean up what is the cashgate. some of the culprits will successfully hide for sometime within the system until even retirement, or elsewhere, before they will be nabbed. it will be a long haul. it is wasted breath to try to pull wool over donors eyes that we have started getting there yet. more needs to be done. all avenues of recovery of the loot must be activated and be seen to be producing results. why not change the notes – that will forestall use of the looted moneys still outside the banking system. why not confiscate proceeds from the cashgate? the law should not be allowed to help looters launder their loot by serving soft sentences.

    Just what will show and make donors think enough has been done? that is illusive and not clearly determinable. it very much depends on the will of the donors themselves. the best thing for them to do, is actually to stop for half a century all direct budget support to government, unless for dealing with the cashgate itself. with impunity we allowed the proportion of the budget supported by donors to be wasted by thieves, looters and fraudsters! The guardians of the system joined the fray instead of stemming bad practice. Now is time to clean up and recover all losses to cashgate. It can be done, with enough will and due process. so freeze direct cash to government for FIFTY YEARS and help law enforcement and fiscal investigation to deal with cashgate to the last cent or penny. Other channels for development aid exist, and can be used even more effectively. These include the lowest local government entities with some support for legislation and institutionalization of development aid at that level.

  10. Galunkudyetsa says:

    That is sisn of hlomwesm

  11. MaiMai says:

    Nankhumwa the name itself tells you is someone from the typical village. .what do you expect?

    Mary Kachale don’t go flat arresting people based on APM instructions, you will soon lose your integrity, devil lives among politicians TAKE NOTE!!!

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