The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says it has not cleared former president Joyce Banda on corruption allegations in the biggest financial scandal in the country’s history called Cashgate, dismissing her claims that the graft-busting body said it had no solid evidence against the former president, partially clearing her name.
The “Cashgate” scandal prompted foreign donors – who provide around 40 percent of Malawi’s budget – to pull the plug on aid worth around $150 million.
The scandal helped push Banda out of power in the 2014 election, and President Peter Mutharika vowed to clean up the system to bring donors back.
ACB director Reyneck Matemba wondered where Banda is getting the information of her being cleared from.
“We never said we have cleared the former president (Joyce Banda),” said Matemba.
The ACB only cleared five firms of wrongdoing in the now K236 billion Cashgate suspected to have occurred between 2009 and 2014.
Matemba said the ACB is still investigating Banda following claims by Cashgate convict Oswald Lutepo on her role in Cashgate and on payments worth $4.5 million (about K3.5 billion) Mudzi Transformation Trust received from oil exploring companies on the same day that the Malawi Government issued licenses in 2013.
Mudzi Transformation Trust was a five-year project launched in 2013 to build houses for vulnerable people. It targeted 20 000 villages nationwide, but just over 500 houses were built at the end of former president Joyce Banda’s term in 2014.
Lutepo confessed that while he had indeed swindled the state, he’d also personally delivered cash to Banda during her term as president.
He said Banda was the mastermind behind the fraud.
“They [the alleged masterminds] used my account as a conduit. I have been to State House several times to deliver the money. If there are CCTVs (closed camera circuits), they will prove me,” said Lutepo.
The former president said she had evidence that corruption allegations against her were politically motivated with written confessions by suspects in the Cashgate scandal, which state that agents have been pressurising them to implicate her in the scandal.
Banda , 68, flew home on Saturday after four years of self-imposed exile during which she faced the threat of arrest over corruption allegations.
Police spokesman James Kaledzera last week declined to say if Banda would be arrested, though he confirmed that a warrant issued last July remained valid.
But the second woman to lead an African country and the first woman president in Malawi, Banda assured her party faithful that she played no role in Cashgate during her two-year tenure as Presilent from 2012 to 2014. “I am not afraid,” she said defiantly. “If they want they can come and arrest me because I have not done any wrong.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :