Mpinganjira says Malawi freezes $7m Mutharika account in SA

The on-going investigations into the Cash-gate scandal have revealed that late president Binguwa  Mutharika had US$7 million dollars stashed in a South African Bank, Information Minister, Brown Mpinganjira, disclosed on Friday.

Mpinganjira said it had also come to light that the former Malawi President had another account in the UK where a sum of US$26 million was withdrawn well after Mutharika had died.

The minister made the revelations in Lilongwe during a press briefing aimed at updating the nation on the strides government had taken in the implementation of the Action Plan which was instituted to address weaknesses in the financial management systems in the country.

“We are having more findings dating way back as regards the fraud and corruption,” explained Mpinganjira. “That is why we insisted to have the forensic audit focusing not only on a few months ago but from way back.

Mpinganjira: More Bingu billions uncovered

“We have since frozen the South African Account where the former president had US$7 million and Bineth Trust has since written authorization to allow the freeze for further probe.”

The minister said investigations were still underway on the other UK account where an amount of US$26 million was withdrawn after Bingu had died.

On the progress registered so far in the implementation of the Action Plan, Mpinganjira announced that in Investigations and Prosecutions, government had strengthened the office of the Director of Public Prosecution by engaging Kamudoni Nyasulu as a Technical Expert in Corruption and Fraud.

This, Mpinganjira said, would help hastening the prosecution of cases which he observed was every Malawian’s wish.

He further said that the Anti-Corruption Bureau had been profiling property for all public officers that are involved in all the suspicious transactions and that, 81 companies had so far been identified in connection with the investigations, adding that 60of the companies had already been profiled.

“Hearing of cases in the courts has commenced: over 35 persons have been committed to High Court through the DPP. There have been 32 bail applications processed, and 18 cases are pending committal to High Court through the ACB,” explained Mpinganjira.

In Auditing segment, the minister said with support from World Bank, a consultant under the Financial Reporting Oversight and Improvement Project (FROIP) had been engaged and that local staff would among others be trained on usage of Audit Management System Software and Computer Aided Audit Techniques (CAATs) to interrogate the IFMIS software system.

Besides this, the Anti-Corruption Bureau has already started acting on the report that has been produced based on the initial comprehensive assessment of the IFMIS control and operational systems and identification of areas where fraud and abuse was carried out, according to the minister.

Government also spelled out some strides taken in Accounting segment of the Action Plan which included finalization of the Terms of Reference for Security Officer for the IFMIS which government intends to recruit soon; and commencement of the reconciliation of all Government Accounts at Reserve Bank and Commercial Banks which, according to Mpinganjira, will be finalized by December 31, 2013.

Government formed a Ministerial Committee which meets every Wednesday to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan and Government has committed itself to briefing the nation every Friday, or Monday, through the Minister of information.

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