Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director Reyneck Matemba has disclosed that the anti-graft busting body is yet to start investigations into the fresh 54 files it has received from the Auditor General on the audit query in the K236 billion Cashgate scandal but hinted that there are no seven cabinet ministers involved as it had been claimed.
In an interview with Nyasa Times, Matemba said the bureau may start the investigations next week.
“We first received 24 files and then later we received 30 files making them 54 in total. So, we are yet to start investigations into these files,” Matemba told Nyasa Times.
Asked if any Cabinet minister has so far been implicated and when will the bureau release their names, the corruption-busting czar said names mentioned in the files will not be disclosed when investigations are underway.
He, however, hinted there are no ministers in the said case.
“The public is going to know who was involved at that time when we start arresting suspects if we found any wrong doing,” he said.
Pressed to comment if among the suspects there could be Cabinet ministers, Matemba kept on talking of companies not individuals.
Matemba said” when we look at these files not all of them are in wrong doing. When we crosscheck the files of these 13 companies all them are not involved in corruption. Sometimes you find that the only problem is that the suppliers were charging more than the actual price, and just like with the opinion of the former Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, we can’t fault the suppliers but the procurement team.”
Currently, ACB is still investigating the first 13 files that were submitted by the Auditor General’s office.
Last March, the graft-busting body released names of five companies it cleared but ACB director general Reyneck Matemba said they were carrying “fresh investigations.”
But Matemba said they so far they have seven files to finish their scrutiny.
“We are still remaining with seven files out of the 13 we received. It’s a lot of work to investigate these files. We can’t rush things because we might miss out important issues,” said Matemba.
In 2015, a financial analysis report by an audit firm established that about K577 billion of public funds could not be reconciled between 2009 and 2014. The figure was later revised to K236 billion in another forensic audit.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday when he presided over the launch of the National Security Policy, Mutharika who has always said the claim of seven Cabinet ministers implicated was “ a lie and fabrication”, challenged the institutions investigating the matter to fast track and complete investigations.
Said Mutharika: “We are not doing this to please anybody but it is for the interest of the nation
Mutharika maintained that he will not give amnesty to anyone found with any Cashgate wrongdoing.
In an interview with Nyasa Times, Leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera has asked government to prosecute individuals who looted public resources in the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration while continuing with investigations into the 2012/13 Cashgate under the Joyce Banda administration of People’s Party (PP).
“Cashgate under the PP administration was as a result of porous financial management system that was put in place by the DPP-led government,” said Chakwera.
He asked authorities to bring to justice all those who, in previous DPP and PP regimes, acquired property and riches illegally.
“We hope to see this (DPP) government pursue the cashgate scandal and bring culprits to book, “he said.
The Cashgate theft is the biggest financial scandal in the history of Malawi, which depends heavily on foreign aid.
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