Officials from Parliament Accounts Committee have hit at graft busting body, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) for its failure to prosecute culprits in the infamous K577 billion ‘cashgate’ —the financial scandal involving looting, theft and corruption at Capital Hill, the seat of Malawi Government.
Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) vice chairman Kamlepo Kalua accused the ACB of working to protect the interests of the seven cabinet ministers and other government officials named in the report.
“ACB should have started the investigations long ago. They have 30 files and names of people and companies involved.
“The National Audit Office even told them to start working on suspects of the K236 billion scam as the Naitional Audit Office completed the other K254 billion. They have the names of the people and companies involved,” said Kalua.
The Auditor General says he was seeking the opinion of the Attorney General on whether to disclose names of those involved in the cashgate or not.
Seven cabinet ministers are reportedly implicated by in parliament Mzimba West MP Harry Mkandawire said George Chaponda the agriculture minister is on the ‘list of shame’.
Chaponda rejected any link to the cashgate.
Minister of Labour also pleaded innocent to cashgate assertions when he was linked by reports.
In the high-level fraud, millions of dollars of public money were channelled into private accounts through companies that provided the government with bills, but no services.
T he forensic auditors of what was initially the K577 billion Cashgate—now reduced to K236 billion—say are disappointed that government did not curb the grand fraud 11 years after it was noted in 2005 under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) watch.
In its report of a forensic audit of the government of Malawi covering the period January 2009 to December 2014, the auditors said that the 11-year inaction, especially in procurement mischief, lack of follow ups on red flags and poor cashbook reconciliation increase the risk of.
“On a more general note, many of the issues set out above and in the following paragraphs, are not dissimilar to those that have occurred in Malawi since 2005. Thus, it is disappointing to find that, whilst some improvements have been made, many weaknesses still exist.
“This, in turn, gives rise to concerns over the proper stewardship of the funds and the associated regularity of the expenditure, irrespective of whether these funds are generated from within Malawi or are provided by the international donor community,” reads the report in part.
Cashgate came to light when an accounts assistant in the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Victor Sithole, was allegedly found with huge amounts of money which was not in line with his monthly income.
The scandal was later compounded by the shooting of the former budget director in the Ministry of Finance Paul Mphwiyo on the night of September 13 2013.
A few days later, a number of civil servants were found with stashes of cash hidden in their car boots without proper documentation on how they got the money.
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