Malawian President Peter Mutharika has put his foot down saying he would not fire any minister implicated in the K577 billion (about $856 million) financial analysis report in the wake of revelations that seven Cabinet ministers were allegedly involved in the mismanagement of the public funds.
A statement from Presidential Press Secretary Mgeme Kalilani says Mutharika cannot implement policy decisions on rumours and speculation.
He said the Auditor General has not yet released the details of those involved.
The statement comes amid calls for Mutharika to fire his seven ministers named in the report.
Social media say the named ministers are Mutharika’s frontline troops who include also Agriculture minister George Chaponda, Mutharika’s inner circle which include Finance minister Goodall Gondwe, Labour minister Henry Mussa, Mines and Energy Minister Bright Msaka.
Malawians in social media and other sections of society have expressed concern over delays to take action against the seven cabinet ministers but Kalilani, in the statement says anyone with information on the names of the seven senior cabinet ministers should come forward with the names with evidence.
Kalilani says the President is following the Attorney General’s legal opinion which is against releasing the names.
“The president too is anxiously waiting for the names and the companies so that collective measures are taken,” says Kalilani in the statement.
He accuses newspapers of “hijacking” the report to misinform the public, saying it is in public domain that the Auditor General has revised the figure from K577 billion to K236 billion.
He describes those commenting on the matter as ‘comedians masquarading as governance experts’.
Revelations of the K577 billion cashgate came hot on the heels of a forensic audit report by British firm, RSM (formely called Baker Tilly), that established that K24 billion was looted from Capital Hill between April and September 2013 under the administration of Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP).
Banda is on record saying “ There must be a stubborn link between the MK577 billion scandal of 2009 and 2012 and the MK20 billion cashgate of 2013.”
Observers also note that lack of political will has crippled Malawi’s anti-corruption bureau, undermining their efforts through political interference and threats.
Given Malawi’s political patronage system, it is highly unlikely that President Mutharika will put his trusted ministers in the dock .Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :