Chaponda, BJ trade barbs over Malawi cash-gate

Leader of opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Parliament Dr George Chaponda and Information Minister Brown Mpinganjira (BJ) on Thursday took the gloves off and traded stinging jabs over the cashgate scandal.

Chaponda had intended to move a ‘vote of no confidence’ against President Joyce Banda administration in parliament after in a string of graft cases that have raised the ire of the international donor community.

In an interview he maintained his stand that “a fish rots from the head down”, arguing that the looting is a cartel for the ruling People’s Party that seeks to raise money for 2014 campaign period.

“We have serious concerns that  the PP government is very deeply involved in all cashgate scandal that is why there has been a lot of hide and seek in this matter,” said Chaponda.

Mpinganjira : DPP has its own dirt in this cashgate
Chaponda: A fish rot from the head

He expressed concern that many suspects in the looting “have merely been moved from one ministry to the other.”

Chaponda asked the government to extend the arrest to controlling officers who signed and authorized the cheques rather than only arresting junior officers as is the case now.

He wondered why the “big fishes” were being shielded in the whole matter.

But Information minister Brown Mpinganjira hit back at Chaponda, saying DPP is “panicking” because it has its own dirt in the financial looting dating from 2005 when it was in power.

“Why can’t they wait until a full forensic audit is completed dating back from 2005. They will be a lot to talk about after the audit,” said Mpinganjira.

Mpinganjira condemned DPP, saying the cashgate was its own handwork and that the incumbent President has demonstrated resolve in combatting financial malfeasance.

The government spokesman said President Banda was the first to inform donors of her demand for an inquiry into allegations of graft in the administration.

“She gave the former minister of  finance four weeks to trace loopholes that aid corruption and to find ways of sealing them. Immediately after that mandate to the former finance minister, she called the donors and told them what she had told the finance minister,” said Mpinganjira. “She told donors that she wanted help from them to fight corruption.

“That is why the British, for example, have ended up identifying forensic auditors to come and help in the fight against corruption,” said Mpinganjira.

A forensic audit into fraud and corruption which is underway will date back to 2006, when the late president Bingu wa Mutharika was in his first term, Mpinganjira said.

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