No hiding behind ‘political witch-hunt’ for cashgaters- CHRR

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has welcomed the conviction and sentencing of a former junior civil servant to nine years in jail with hard labour for his part in the “cashgate” corruption scandal and urged law enforcing agencies to cast the net wider to catch more culprits in the affair.

Mtambo:  Let the law take its course on cashgaters

Mtambo: Let the law take its course on cashgaters

Sithole at court: Convicted of money laundering, illegal possession of foreign currency and possessing stolen government property.

Sithole at court: Convicted of money laundering, illegal possession of foreign currency and possessing stolen government property.

Accounts assistant Victor Sithole, 28 is the second official to be found guilty over the “cashgate” financial scandal, the worst to hit Malawi.  He was found guilty of stealing more than $66,000 in cash.

CHRR Executive Director Timothy Mtambo said they welcome the “lengthy” sentence handed down by Lilongwe senior magistrate Patrick Chirwa and the plans for the state to forfeit tainted assets as well as recover the laundered money.

Sithole’s arrest in August 2013 kick-started what became known as the “cashgate” affair.

It became public knowledge a month later following the shooting of the finance ministry’s then budget director Paul Mphwiyo.

Meanwhile, CHRR boss has advised the relevant authorities charged with the tasks of investigations and prosecution of cashgate cases to exercise a high degree of professionalism in carrying out such tasks without fear and favour even in the face of unproven “political witch hunting” claims.

“While we have seen a series of arrests which clearly point to some level of progress being made on the matter, there is still a cloud of suspicion that surrounds these cashgate investigations. The manner in which some of these arrests have been conducted raises more questions than answers to whether the public is taken for another ride- that is, being made to believe that something is happening,” observed Mtambo in an interview published by Weekend Nation.

While conceding that there have been claims by some quarters that the cashgate cases are selective targeting mostly the members of the previous regime, the CHRR boss indicated that such claims shouldn’t inhibit the relevant authorities from professionally conducting their investigations and prosecutions in the best interest of the rule of law and the general public.

“While realizing that such claims may contain some  level of truth based on our political history which has been characterized by a cat and mouse relationship between the ruling and predecessor party, we at CHRR are of the view that that such notions should not inhibit the relevant authorities or the current government from carrying out independent investigations into Cashgate and in cases where those belonging to the previous regime are found to be on the wrong side of the law they ought to face justice. People should not hide behind ‘political witch-hunting’ claims in order to evade the law.” added Mtambo.

The first person to be convicted in relation to the high-profile case was former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Tressa Namathanga Senzani, who was sentenced to three years in jail last month.

But the sentence angered many as it was viewed to be lenient.

The rights watchdog boss said he “understands the frustration” by the public over the sentencing of convict Senzani

“The public is justified with the expression of dissatisfaction over the sentences, especially when you consider the harm cashgate has caused on the public,” he said.

According to CHRR boss,  Cashgate is a human rights violation “as it impinges on the fundamental freedoms and rights including right to development, right to food, right to life, right to health just to mention a few.”

He added: “Even some have suggested that Cashgate should be considered as a new form of crimes against humanity in view of the deaths registered in public hospitals due to shortage of drugs which the looted money would have catered for.”

Stated Mtambo: “However, at the same time special consideration should be given to the question of whether such sentences imposed by the courts within the law or not. If it’s within the law, then perhaps certain actions should or steps may be considered to be taken in as far as harmonizing the existing laws with the current situation. This may require some sort of legal reforms just to ensure that they speak to the reality of current situations”.

Although former President Joyce Banda was not directly involved in the scandal, analysts say it may contributed to her losing elections earlier this year and prompted foreign donors to pull the plug on much-needed aid.

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25 thoughts on “No hiding behind ‘political witch-hunt’ for cashgaters- CHRR”

  1. John says:

    even sithole senior (father to the convict) is very corrupt. find out more on him.

  2. Lwitiko says:

    This face is indeed that of a seasoned thief. Why put such faces in positions of contact with money?

  3. Ma battery a mulhakho says:

    Osati Billy Banda and Mabvuto Bamusi the ass holes.Greedy activists.maphwado anu.By the way where z Kapito.

  4. Mcdonald Chimangeni says:

    Its a serious issue.

  5. gracious says:

    The ant christ (udot even tink abt de needy )

  6. Malawian kuganiza kochepa kwambiri Stole is man of God sakufuna kunamizila ena he knows mabhoza ngoyipa his truth will bail him out of prison and some of you are feeling gilty kuti mu maba limodzi. Wait for the K92billion muzakumudwa with DPP government

  7. Jabulosi says:

    I pity Sithole, seriously you can’t name the one who gave you all this money for safekeeping? Are you sure all is work of your hands and brain? I don’t believe it my friend. You want to suffer alone and Die in prison for sins you did not commit!!!!!!! My friend the world is sweet out here at least you can afford basic things and be Happy!!!!!! You might not survive the five or so years behind bars, Come out of the Cocoon man its not too late!!!!

  8. kyroc says:

    o my GOD! mpakanso a MCP? why should mcp take mwians for granted? kutizunza,kutipha,kutidyesa ng’ona lero ngakhale nthawi ya democracy nkumatiberabe. u asked mwians to forgive and trust u. but for what? tsono mayi jessie kabwira tiuzeni zoona. so u mean soko z an mcp guru and cashgate goes such far to include mcp? manyazi bwanji mayi! stop that holier than thou attitude! mcp ngakhale itatsogoleredwa ndi abusa 100000 singasinthe.a chakwera chipani chanu chikufunika devils cleansing. honestly, jk should resign

  9. yuona says:

    Musafunitsitse kupeza zifukwa mwa JB chifukwa zikutsalirani mmanja.

  10. grecium says:

    By and by cashgaters will pay back all they stole from our mother Malawi.Just a word of caution though,nobody is above the law as such sentences must be adminstered equally.

  11. Only politicians are immune from laws. Most of them will hide in party cocoons. Those who will be caught will either be washout or 2years impresonment. Esp. the family of the pigs are more equal than others. Malawi has turned into animal farm.

  12. Tengupenya says:

    cashgate inawonjezera zinthu zimwe zinasesa Amayi’s chance to win an election.

  13. marvel chikondi says:

    BWANA MTAMBO, THERE IS NO POLITICS HERE BECAUSE THOSE INVOLVED GO TO COURT WHERE THEY ARE FOUND GUILTY. TO SAY SOME CLAIMS CONTAIN A GRAIN OF TRUTH IS BEING UNFAIR TO THE INVESTIGATORS

  14. fupa lokakamiza limaswa mphika,musakakamile kuti jb apezeke pa cashgate chifukwa cha ndale.Let Her Do Her Own Bussines.Plz Mr Apm Leave Her Alone.

  15. truth says:

    The same applies to those that have been privileged to work in our embassies outside. Some have built houses bought property while others come home with nothing. They bring expensive cars sell them instead of building a house all the money goes to pay fees at the very prestigious schools. After all is done they start saying so and so has that that means he is stealing. No this is wrong if u compare yourself with the person you r talking about you will find that you have been more privileged than others only that u luck wisdom. We have diplomats who have houses in area 14 47 12 while other former diplomats are renting two bedroom houses. They are very bitter and dangerous. Lets watch out for such people. I believe this truth will guide us.

  16. Yobe boo says:

    Senzani sentencing MUST be revisited, we know the sentence was linient because of her love relationship with George Chaponda, which led to a big frustration to most Malawians> this is not the way to go if Justice is to be equally exercised.

  17. Mbambadi! says:

    Same crime different jail sentence. A Principal Secretary connected to ruling Party gets 3 years. A junior clerk with no connections to ruling party 9 years (3 times longer). Is this what we call justice?

  18. gogo says:

    There are people who have vowed that they will never defraud or steal from govt no matter what. It is very sad wen they are implicated during their line of duty just because people want to get rich quick. Riches come with time. Start small put yr priorities right invest you will grow. Most civil servants have had the same opportunities but did not make use of them. They would send their children to prestigious schools like Kamuzu Academy Lilongwe Private Bishop MacKenzie etc pay millions for O levels only. Somebody will use less than that to buy property. Same resources different priorities. By the end of the day you have paid 3 million lwacha for yr child to get 0 level certificate some times in South Africa. Others will send their children to local schools where they even excel n do well. So our priorities matter at the end of the day. Today u have nothing calculate how much you handled during yr career. Prestige cost you ulibe chiriconse Ena amalima iwe uli pamowa so u cannot point a finger at wit others have.

  19. PUBLIC PLUNDER says:

    Ministry of Justice must organise a seminar to discuss the sentencing of these cashgaters. There must be a uniform sentencing eg consecutive and not con-current run of serving the sentence. The maxmum for theft is 3 yrs and money laundering is 7 yrs. That’s why these home useless baked lawyers of Malawi try hard to remove money laundering from the charge shit. Plse all cashgate sentencing must be CONSECUTIVE RUN, please napapata.

  20. Pido says:

    Cashgate is the same crime as stealing chicken

  21. nachilomgo says:

    Kodi Sitholeyu nde kuti ndalama zonsezo zimafikila mmanja mwake, amasayinila yekha ma cheque nkupanga authorise kapena chani? Asazunzike yekha mwana aliponso ma big fish amene amagwilizana naye ma deal. Nayenso osaulula zoona? zimatuluka bwanji ndalama zitalizitali ngati zimenezo?

  22. Ndeketu says:

    Thats talking malawians lets love our boat Malawi.Ndeketu

  23. salimu says:

    Stealing is very bad and must be stopped at any cost. However to say we have failed to progress because of cashgate is to hide behind a transparent glass. 50 years of independence with nothing to show for it. USD 20 million should not dent any country’s economy. We either have been stealing more than this or we are just too poor.

  24. Big brain says:

    Inunso a ma NGO ofinika akupangeni audit

  25. Mike B says:

    It’s time to bring the big fish to justice and get serious. Time for games is over !

Comments are closed.