Malawi may face mass protests of citizens with a petition to President Peter Mutharika to fire seven ministers, who have been implicated in the suspected K577 billion Cashgate, to ensure more conclusive investigations and prosecution.
The civil society groups want President Mutharika to fire all cabinet ministers who are callously draining the economy, enrighing themselves while ordinary citizens starve.
An initiative called #BetterMalawiNow! Is gaining momentum for Mutharika– without fear of his trusted party stawlats – to act on the initial 13 files of the K577 billion audit that the National Audit Office (Nao) has submitted to the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) .
The CSO, including Billy Mayaya, is calling to President Mutharika to walk the talk on one of the pillars of national development – integrity – by sacking the rotten seven ministers.
“The seven and many others that might follow have in real sense defied your appeal for patriotism, hard work and integrity,” reads the petition to Mutharika.
“ They have enhanced your risk as head of state as well as personally of being a figurehead leader without commitment and dedication to the appeal to uphold principles of financial prudence,” the petition reads.
The petitioners, said they are persuaded to believe that wholesale robbery has been aided and abated by the sustained culture of disempowerment which has kept the masses ignorant, fearful, passive and subservient.
According to the activists, their biggest wonder is why the suspected ministers are still in service and why Mutharika has not made an official statement to that effect.
“Our take is that you are intent on protecting these individuals, by extending to them and misapplying and abusing the executive privilege, which by the way is also not absolute. That is our other reason for our outrage and anger, as it reflects a premeditated and deliberate action.
“We are grateful that the media released that report, convinced and duty bound that the rightful owners and beneficiaries of the national wealth being abused and looted – the citizenry needed to be told. The executive branch, Mr. President, has been cast into doubtful outlook, portrayed as criminally culpable, principally by shielding the seven in your Cabinet,” states the petition.
In a June 19 2015, NAO said the audit analysis had identified significant discrepancies between payments made from government bank accounts and cashbook records held in the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis), the government’s electronic payment system.
Revelations of the K577 billion cashgate came hot on the heels of a forensic audit report by British firm, RSM (formely called Baker Tilly), that established that K24 billion was looted from Capital Hill between April and September 2013 under the administration of Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP).
Banda is on record saying “ There must be a stubborn link between the MK577 billion scandal of 2009 and 2012 and the MK20 billion cashgate of 2013.”
The K577 billion cashgate audit report will be a stern test to President Peter Mutharika committement to fight corruption without fear or favour.
Corruption in Malawi is severe, well-known, cuts across many sectors, and is frequently debated and discussed in the media.
Such corruption undermines human rights in multiple ways: a direct defiance of the rule of law and accountability. By unlawfully interfering with resources that should be available to realize fundamental rights such as the rights to health, water, food, and education—either through illegally appropriating public funds for personal wealth or rendering access to services subject to bribes, which are illegal—corruption leads to violations of human rights that may have disastrous consequences.
Observers also note that lack of political will has crippled Malawi’s anti-corruption bureau, undermining their efforts through political interference and threats.
Given Malawi’s political patronage system, it is highly unlikely that President Mutharika will put his trusted ministers in the dock .Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :