Malawi government has suspended its two top officers at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for allegedly intimidating a member of the audit team who are currently auditing the Malawian Embassy in Ethiopia following revelations that K293 million was siphoned out of the public purse and deposited into personal accounts.
Theft of public resources at the mission was detected April 2016 after former secretary for administration and finance, Fletcher Chowe, wrote a cheque in his name.
The cheque was signed by Malawi’s deputy ambassador to Ethiopia Doreen Kapanga.
According to the letter dated 29 April and signed by George Mkondiwa the Chiefs Secretary to Government, the suspended officials are Martin Kantikana the Deputy Director of the Administration as well as Grant Kayipa.
The suspension is for a period of three months but on full pay salary.
Mkondiwa said in the letter that the two asked Gift Mawango, a member of auditing team assigned to investigate at the Addis Ababa mission, to “safeguard” Chowe who has been involved in the fraudulent of the transactions at the Embassy.
The Chief Secretary said that the actions taken by the two were “prejudicial to the administration, discipline or efficiency of the Civil Service contrary to the Malawi Public Service Regulation 1:201 (19).”
Mkondiwa said in the letter that “in view for the above and in accordance to the Malawi Public Service Commission Regulation (MPSCR) 45 (1), I am here to suspend you from the exercise of powers and functional of your offices with the effect from 28 April 2016 to pave a way for the investigation of the allegation as well as un-interference progression of the audit in the Ethiopia.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila said auditors who were assigned to investigate “have indeed uncovered massive fraudulent activities taking place at the mission”.
Kasaila said the officials implicated were using “a well-crafted operation” to siphon money out of the public purse, which they would then deposit in their personal accounts.
“The report shows this systematic and merciless plunder of public resources at the Addis Ababa mission started in 2013,” said Kasaila.
The fraud has all the characteristics of the infamous Cashgate, which saw government losing multi-billions of public funds.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :