As earlier reported by Nyasa Times that former Deputy Inspector General of Malawi Police Nelson Bophan was marked for an arrest, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday arrested hm on ‘cashgate’-related charges.
Bophani was also chairing the Investigation Committee , a multi-agency special unit that initiated the probe on the “cashgate” scandal, a systematic looting of public money.
There has not been an official confirmation of Baphani’s arrest but a team of journalists that camped at at Lilongwe Police Station till late in the evening saw a convoy of police vehicles drive into the yard with an unidentified man, who sources later confirmed that it was Bophani.
Sources say that senior police officers reportedly first looked for Bophani at his residence in Chinsapo before they arrested him at his home village at Nathenje along the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1 Road.
Over 70 civil servants and businessmen are currently in court answering ‘cashgate’ charges ranging from theft, theft by public officers to possession of property suspected of having been stolen, fraud and money laundering.
Former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Theresa Senzani was first to be convicted in ‘cashgate’-related charges. She is now serving a three-year jail term.
On Friday an Accounts Assistant in the Ministry of Energy, Mining and Natural Resources, Victor Sithole, was also convicted in the ‘cashgate’-related charges but he is yet to be sentenced.
An independent report into the scandal by Baker Tilly, a British accountancy firm, describes the scale of the theft and how it operated.
Drawing on a sample of 501 suspicious transactions between April and September, the auditors found that around 6.1 billion kwacha ($14.5m) had been paid out to 16 companies for services that had not been supplied.
Payments with no further documents accounted for a further 4 billion kwacha. The bean-counters also found that supply contracts had been inflated by 3.6 billion kwacha.
All told, K13 billion went missing during the Joyce Banda reign from April 2012. Probably another K90 billion went missing over the eight years of the presidency of the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
In total, about 30 per cent of the country’s budget could have been looted over a decade – almost as much as donors have provided Malawi over the same period.