Malawi’s Justice Minister Fahad Assani has said government will submit to courts that all those answering charges involving the plunder of public funds at Capital Hill – known as cashgate – should face the sentence of life imprisonment when convicted.
Assani disclosed this during his speech in commemorating the Anti-Corruption Day in Lilongwe on Wednesday which President Joyce Banda attended.
“If you stole government money you will face life in prison,” warned Assani.
Assani said government plans to arrest more top officials in connection with the cash-gate scandal.
Last week police arrested former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara on suspicion of stealing state funds in a malfeasance that has paralyzed the entire civil service and affected the government’s payment system.
Kasambara, also arrested in last September’s shooting of a senior treasury official, became the first ex-minister to be implicated in a corruption scandal involving several other senior public officers, the Army, police officers and bankers.
Assani is on record saying investigations continue to reveal more and more people involved in the scandal that saw billions being plundered from public coffers.
“Cashgate” trials started on January 29, with the first four cases for suspects; Caroline Savala, Leonard Kalonga, Angela Kantengeza and Gordon Hamdan.
President Banda said corruption is frustrating government’s efforts to rebuild the country’s economy and promised to deal with all people involved in the financial malfeasance at Capital Hill.
Many commentators say that her decision is a huge political risk in an election year.