Commentators have asked government to reveal the names of those suspected to be at the centre of the plunder known as cashgate as contained in the forensic audit by Baker Tilly so that they can show up at the police or Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) .
Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa warned those involved to not waste the State’s time but surrender themselves in order to face justice.
But critics said the matter should not be a political publicity stunt but rather the Baker Tilly report which is detailed and contains names of companies and owners suspected to have taken part in the massive plunder of public coffers should be made public other than making it a preserve of a selected few.
Mwiza Nkhata, Dean of Law at the Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, told a local radio station the government should tread carefully on the arrests being made to avoid lawsuits which could later cost government a lot of money in compensation.
“Good practice requires that you should not arrest people unless you have built up a substantial case against particular individuals… If you are planning to arrest people you must have completed investigations ensure that the government does not expose itself to suits for malicious prosecution or false imprisonment,” said Nkhata.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) maintain the arrests are made after thorough investigations.
The government has been asked to release names of cashgate suspects as contained in the report as the ACB and the police release names of suspects in other cases way before they are actually tried.
“Let government come in the open and release names of suspects of Cashgate outlined in Baker Tilly report ,” said Timothy Ntambo, executive director for the rights group Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation.
Mtambo said despite the new strides in the Cashgate arrests, he is concerned about the “slow pace” at which the trials are moving.
Nankhumwa said government would not interfere with the prosecution of the cashgate cases.
He added: “The arrests that are currently being effected by law enforcing agencies have nothing to do with political witch hunting but rather a pursuit of justice for the infamous cashgate and other related money laundering offences.”
In his inauguration speech, President Peter Mutharika pledged to deal with Cashgate and bring all culprits to book.
Malawians trashed the first audit report, which omitted names of individuals and companies said to be involved in the massive corruption scandal.
The government of Malawi under Joyce Banda leadership hired a British company, Baker Tilly International, to audit its departments between April and September 2013.
Although she was not directly fingered, the scandal could have cost Banda – Africa’s second female president – the May 20 elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :