Malawi’s anti-corruption and good governance expert and also barrister of law Allan Z Ntata has asked the Peter Mutharika led government not to shield 7 corrupt ministers implicated in the forensic audit that established that about K236 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014 as it is setting a wrong precedence.
Ntata a law barrister who had previously worked at Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and also served as late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s legal said it is the moral responsibility of the President to check corrupt practices and should not give amnesty to his cronies to loot taxpayers’ money.
His comments comes after Auditor General (AG) Stephen Kamphasa says he has sought legal advice from the Attorney General Kalekeni Kpahle on whether to release names and companies named in the forensic audit conducted by British firm RSM Risk Insurance LLP..
Kamphasa said there was some“legal implications” on the release of the names hence the decision to consult Attorney General
But Ntata who is heading Independent Commission on Accountability and Transparency (iCAT) – a citizen-led initiative to help build and ensure public accountability – criticised the decision to withhold names in the pretext of seeking legal opinion.
“The Auditor General is unreasonable, it is something that should not be accepted,” said Ntata said during Daybreak Malawi program aired on Capital Radio.
He added: “There is no justification to wait for Attorney General to release the cashgate names.”
“The report need to be public information. The iddea to wait for Attorney General should not be tolerated.”
According to Ntata, seeking legal advise from government top lawyer on the cashgate ‘list of shame’, mostly the 7 rotten ministers , means giving the Executive space to keep them under wraps.
He said shielding the corrupt 7 ministers is sending wrong signals in the fight for corruption.
Presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said Mutharika is not aware of any ministers involved in the mismanagement of the public funds.
“We have to put the matter in proper prespective here. The President in not aware of any minister named in the Cashgate forensic audit,” Kalilani said.
But despite names of the Cashgate suspects being kept under wraps by the Auditor General, Stepheson Kamphasa, the details of individuals allegedly implicated have been coming out in public domain with one online publication Malawi Newsnow mentioning what it claimed was the ‘list of shame’.
In parliament last week, Mzimba West MP Harry Mkandawire (PP) mentioned leader of the house George Chaponda as one of the rotten ministers .
Chaponda denied any involvement.
Mkandawire said the ministers know themselves and are seving cabinet with Cashgate guilt, sayingif they have any integrity – as one of the three pillars of national development – should no longer hold their positions.
“These Cabinet ministers know themselves and if they have a shred of honour, they should have resigned until investigations on the matter are over,” up-front talking Mkandawire said.
One of the ministers, Henry Mussa , has also been forced to plead innocence after he was linked to the plunder.
“Out of seven cabinet ministers, why singling Henry Mussa? Where are the other five apart from Chaponda who has been named? This is a joke. I know it is a personal vendetta planned by my detractors to destroy my political career, image and credibility,” Mussa said.
He challenged anyone “to bring evidence” against his alignment into the cashgate report.
Ntata however said there is need to “break the culture of impunity that has engulfed Malawi by encouraging and supporting the government and the legal system to punish people fairly but effectively in keeping with rule of law in Malawi’s fight against corruption”.
Corruption is a major challenge to economic development, poverty alleviation, democratic governance, the justice framework and the rule of law in many countries including Malawi. It leads to imprudent public spending and waste of public resources.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :