Opposition members of parliament on Tuesday asked for Palriament to discuss K577 billion (about $856 million) financial analysis report in the wake of revelations that seven Cabinet ministers were allegedly involved in the mismanagement of the public funds.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has submitted 13 files related to the pilferage of public fund between 2009 and December 31 2014 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.
Firebrand politican, Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua (People’s Party-PP) wanted the House to waive all business planned for the day to deliberate on the Cashgate report which has implicated ministers sitting on the government front bench.
Kalua also suggested that the suspected seven Cabinet ministers should be thrown of Parliament and only be allowed back after being cleared of any wrong doing.
Mzimba West MP Harry Mkandawire (PP) echoed Kalua’s sentiments that the matter is already in public domain after Malawi News and Nyasa Times reported on Saturday, saying the ministers if they have any integrity – as one of the three pillars of national development – should no longer hold their positions.
“These Cabinet ministers know themselves and if they have a shred of honour, they should have resigned until investigations on the matter are over,” up-front talking Mkandawire said.
He said the matter is of public importance .
But the Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya said it was a “preliminary report “ which could not be tabled.
Msowoya gagged MPs, saying “ we cannot believe what the newspapers write” threatening to throw out any member commenting on the DPP cashgate.
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 .
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