Blantyre Arts Festival boss mentors youth groups mafia-dealing skills

The Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF) director Thom Chibambo is on record to have imparted ‘cashgating’ skills into up-coming arts youth groups  during an entrepreneurial training workshop in Balaka last week.

Blantyre Arts Festival

According to Director of We Create Arts Theatre (WECAT) Florence Chilanga, during Chibambo’s session on the pros and cons of entrepreneurship; he told the participants to the training on how they cook up some events in order to avoid the wrath of auditors.

Chilanga said the BAF director, whose organization gets funding from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and Hivos Foundation among others; said there  are times  they connive with filling
station attendants to get some blank fuel receipts as a cover up to auditors.

“As you might know, there are auditors for every project and in our case to run away from a possible auditors’ wrath, we get some blank fuel receipts and fill it with fuel purchase for a project-journey
which was never undertaken. So when those auditors arrive, the anomaly is hardly detected,” Chibambo boasted to the participants while saying ‘mwaona…pamafunika kuchenjera pa town’ (You need to be clever to survive).

In addition to this, Chilanga said Chibambo also told them some clandestine leads of how to ‘exhaust’ some idle or remaining funds from the donors.

“He told us that some figures can’t be receipted so his organization just finds someone among them to sign for it. He said the balances could be signed as lunch allowance, kabanza (bicycle taxi) fee among
others,” she said.

She further said the training held in Andiamo ended prematurely because the participants were pissed off as they were not being respected.

In addition, she said the participants were angry that they were not given any refreshments let alone allowances during the training yet Chibambo kept boasting that his organization is rich.

“We even called the District Youth Officer (DYO) demanding that Mr Chibambo should apologize to the participants because they felt they were being embarrassed with how they were being talked to,” she said.

But when contacted Chibambo said he was surprised with the allegations and asked this reporter where he got the news.

“That’s really news to me because that’s not part of what we are orienting the youths. All what we are teaching them is how to use arts as business,” said Chibambo.

Balaka DYO a Mr  Mpinganjira said he was in a meeting and could not say anything.

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