Seven senior cabinet ministers in the Peter Mutharika government have been fingured to have a key involvement in DPP-era Cashgate—the plunder of K577 billion (about $856 million) of public funds the forensic audit for the period 2005 to 2014 indicates.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has submitted 13 files related to the pilferage of public funds following the report, prepared after the findings by the business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) titled Financial Analysis Report: Reconstruction of the Malawi Government Cashbook for Purposes of Further Investigation.
Nyasa Times understands that the files the Auditor General has submitted to graft-busting body indicates the ‘fish rots from head to down’ in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government with Leader of Government in parliament, Dr Geogre Chaponda implicated.
Chaponda is also DPP vice president and second in command in the ruling party from President Peter Mutharika. He is heading key ministry of agriculture, irrigation and food security.
He previous served in ministries of foreign affairs; justice, and education.
Chaponda, Malawi’s top trained lawyer, prides himself as political “bulldozer” who has been seen to be repositioning himself to be Mutharika’s successor, saying had he remained working at the UN, he could be going fotr top job of Secretary General.
Also fingured in the audit is Minister of Labour Henry Mussa, one of the front-line troops of the DPP government .
Mussa is also government Chief Whip in parliament and Chiradzulu East Member of Parliament.
NAO spokesperson Lawrence Chinkhunda and ACB publicist Egritta Ndala were coy to comment on the audit files , saying they were not an indictment of anybody but investigations into how government lost billions.
However, sources at NAO indicated the list of people implicated include senior ministers Chaponda and Mussa.
NAO could not give details of the files submitted to ACB.
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 :