Minister of Finance, Ecoomic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has reassured the National Assembly that government will release the names of suspects in what is known as Malawi’s Cashgate—a K13 billion public finance scandal that rocked the country last year.
Gondwe told parliament on Monday after Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP for Lilongwe Msodzi South, Dzoole Mwale asked to have a Cashgate audit report tabled in the House which should contain names of culprits.
He said when the report is presented, the Minister of Finance must account for how money was spent and utilised in the past year when K13 billion was siphoned from government through various means.
“We would also like to know what drastic measures government has put in place [to avoid recurrence of cashgate,” said Mwale.
He said”We on the MCP side recommend that the report on Cashgate should be number one then the budget. The Minister of Finance should also account for the money before another budget is approved.”
Standing on “point of information”, Gondwe said the Peter Mutharika administration will release details of the comprehensive audit report by the British auditing firm, Baker Tilly, later in August.
“We are very systematic. We have had a discussion with the forensic people from London, they came to visit us. In August we will come with a report to expose names as it should be exposed,” said Gondwe.
“The names that were concealed will be revealed,” assured the Finance Minister, attracting hand clapping from members.
Pressed on whether the report will also reveal alleged K92 billion public funds abused under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rule, Gondwe said there will be no shielding of suspects.
“Let me assure, the president did say in his state of the nation address, that there will be no sacred cows. If a matter concerns this side of the house or that side of the house, all will be exposed,” said Gondwe.
Gondwe said all audits “will be discussed in this house.”
In his inauguration speech, President Mutharika pledged to deal with Cashgate and bring all culprits to book.
Malawians trashed the first audit report, which omitted names of individuals and companies said to be involved in the massive corruption scandal.
The government of Malawi under Joyce Banda leadership hired a British company, Baker Tilly International, to audit its departments between April and September 2013.
The company’s report found the government lost about K13 billion during that period through fraud, theft and unethical actions.
That equates to more than one percent of GDP, in a one of the world’s poorest countries, where state services are poor and life expectancy is just 54 years.
The report says nearly half of the money went to 16 private companies for services they did not provide.
It says this was done by taking advantage of a loophole in the government’s financial management system.
Some 68 civil servants and businesspeople are already on trial charged with graft.
Ex-justice minister Ralph Kasambara and four others face trial for the attempted murder of a former treasury official Paul Mphwiyo who was on the verge of exposing the corruption ring.
Foreign donors, who provide 40% of Malawi’s budget, froze vital aid worth around $150m in response.
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