The Ministry of Agriculture has interdicted over 70 of its personnel for allegedly embezzling millions of kwacha in the ministry after an internal audit suspected fraud.
The audit instituted by Principal Secretary in the ministry Erica Maganga revealed that the ‘cashgate’ syndicate was masterminded by 75 workers at the ministry’s headquarters and millions of kwacha has been lost.
‘Cashgate’ denotes the systematic skimming of millions of dollars of money from the government payment system.
Some personnel in the looting network were from Chitedze Research Station, Kasinthula Research Station, Sharp Valley Research Station and some from agriculture development divisions.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesman Hamilton Chimala has confirmed the development .
According to Chimala over 70 agriculture officers including technical workers and supporting staff in the ministry have been suspended.
“We are concerned as a Ministry that these people stole a lot of tax payers’ money which would have helped in the development of the country,” said Chimala as quoted by Zodiak.
The ministry also recommend suspension of over 30 personnel in other government departments of accounts, human resource and IT for alleged involvement in the scam.
Secretary to Treasury Rodney Mangani said recently the Malawian government was determined to ensure that cashgate scandal doesn’t recur in any form.
However, the ministry of agriculture looting will sent shivers to government.
Minister of Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza’s number was out of reach when contacted for comment.
Germany, one of the countries that suspended aid to Malawi after a massive public sector graft scandal in 2012, granted Malawi finances about K125 million to conduct the audit into what has been known as DPP-era cashgate
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)c ontinued from where British auditor Baker Tilly, who uncovered traces of cashgate, left.
PwC report on the reconstruction of the cashbook in the wake of audit query for the K92 billion (US$204.4 million) mismanaged under the watch of the first Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration led by former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, indicated that its actually over K570bn that might have been stolen from public coffers.
It contains findings of a forensic audit after a probe into the period Jan 1, 2009 – Dec 31, 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :