Malawi church body speaks on cashgate, demands transparency

The Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) has said government must handle the issue of ‘Cash gate’ with transparency and also present a forensic report publicly, among many issues affecting Malawi.

In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, EAM demands that in a spirit of transparency, the forensic report which, government has said it will be ready mid next February should be widely disseminated to Malawians.

“The citizens have the right to know how public funds, most of which come from taxes, have been utilized,” reads a statement signed by Rev. Francis Mkandawire, its General Secretary.

At the court during the start of cashgate trial

No cover up: At the court during the start of cashgate trialup

Government announced a forensic report will be due in February, but the pace at which cases and investigations are taking place have brought general concerns on the part of the general public.

Allegations indicate some people are not been taken to task for stealing billions from Capital Hill when a few others have been arrested and some have started appearing before the courts.

The umbrella evangelical churches body adds the ‘cash gate’ scandal is a serious setback to the economic and social development of our beautiful nation.

“It significantly undermines the gains the country has made over the past years. Its impact will have far reaching effects on every sector of our society for a long time. We want to make it clear that corruption is evil. It is the greatest enemy to national development. The Bible condemns corruption in strongest terms.

EAM says resources which should have benefited the masses in this country have been diverted to satisfy the greed of a few heartless and selfish individuals at a time when the majority of Malawians are languishing in extreme poverty due to economic hardships.

“ This is immoral and unacceptable. We must all join hands to uproot this evil in our midst with passion if we are to develop and prosper as a nation,” .said the church body

The church  request Government to ensure that adequate funding is provided to agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution of the suspects such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Fiscal Police, the National Integrity Committee, the Judiciary and others.

It called on Parliament and supporting partners to monitor that such resources have indeed been channeled to these agencies accordingly.

“The citizens have the right to know how public funds, most of which come from taxes, have been utilized,” says the statement.

This preliminary forensic audit covers five months and has been funded by Britain while the comprehensive audit covering 2005 to March 2013 would be done with funding from Germany.

There have been calls for immediate convening of Parliament to enable the House to debate the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) findings of cashgate following its fulfilment of the assignments.

Cashgate scandal has affected the country’s relations with donors and caused outrage among Malawians.

Allegations of the massive looting of government money became public following the shooting of the finance ministry’s then budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September 2013.

Just days before, a junior civil servant was allegedly found with bales of cash totalling more than $300,000 in the boot of his car.

Mphwiyo, who survived the attack, had reportedly planned to reveal a corruption ring.

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