DPP trashes Chikaonda on Malawi cashgate origins: ‘May have oranges in his mouth’

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has trashed economist Mathews Chikaonda and challenged him to bring forth evidence that plundering of government funds started in 2005.

DPP suspects that Chikaonda – a former Malawi minister of Finance and Economic Planning and Development- may have “eaten buns” from President Joyce Banda to twist facts and divert the attention of Malawians from the current administration focus.

DPP secretary general Dr Jean Kalirani has since warned Chikaonda not to dent his integrity for cheap propaganda.

“There are many who are supporting President Joyce Banda in her attempts to divert the attention of the public from PP’s Cashgate to DPP and other previous Governments past performances because they have big carrots dangling in front of them.

Chikaonda: Argues that cashgate dates back to 2005 when DPP took over power
Chikaonda: Argues that cashgate dates back to 2005 when DPP took over power

“We hope that Prof Chikaonda is not one of those who are seeing such big carrots in front. We respect him. He has too much integrity which he cannot allow to be shattered in these ill-fated Cashgate cover-up schemes,” said Kalirani in a statement.

Chikaonda, a Group Chief Executive Officer of conglomerate Press Corporation Limited, said the plunder  started when main expenditure ceilings were removed from expenditure control measures.

“What went wrong is that main expenditure ceilings were removed and there was an authorisation that all government cheques be honoured…and that was the turning point,” said Chikaonda who also served as governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

Chikaonda said before 2005, there was a spending limit for ministries and government departments which was put in their respective commercial banks beyond which the accounts were frozen.

He also faulted the way the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (Ifimis) was operated since November 2005 when it was introduced.

But DPP dismissed Chikaonda, saying:“There were absolutely none of these events in 2005 or shortly thereafter. There were no companies which got huge sums of money for no work done and sharing the money with Government authorities.”

The DPP said “unless Prof Chikaonda is using a different definition of Cashgate, which he should give us, he is deliberately misleading the Malawi nation and international community by saying that Cashgate started in 2005.

“We challenge him and have repeatedly challenged anyone else to come up with evidence for Cashgate at that time.”

DPP claimed when it took power when its leader late Bingu wa Mutharika dumped UDF the party which propelled him to power,  the economy was in tatters and donor confidence was lost.

“Soon after the DPP took power, essentially in 2004, the economy started to pick up. Donor confidence was restored. The same IMF recommended the removal of those Expenditure Limits, banks were asked to honor Government cheques, Cash budget system was abandoned, and IFMIS was introduced. The DPP Government made these innovations in collaboration with the IMF,”  the  DPP said  in a statement made available to Nyasa Times.

Chikaonda said as private sector they are encouraged by some of the measures that the Joyce Banda administration has out in place to crackdown on looters.

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