The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of President Peter Mutharika is intent at arresting former Head of State and People’s Party (PP) leader, Joyce Banda, for her alleged role in the infamous ‘cashgate’, a financial scandal involving looting, theft and corruption that was uncovered in 2013, Nyasa Times understands.
Highly-placed sources within the administration have disclosed that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has obtained a Warrant of Arrest and that soon, the anti-graft agency will ask the courts to force the former president to return home to face the law.
She is currently abroad on private errands.
“I can confirm that a warrant has been issued by one of the magistrates in Blantyre. Authorities want to arrest her on charges related to alleged money laundering and abuse of office,” said a government lawyer, who asked not to be identified.
PP administrative secretary, Joseph Chikwemba, confirmed in a telephone interview from Blantyre on Thursday, February 23, 2017, “the PP had heard about the ill-intentions” but said the plot was not new.
He said: “We’re aware that there is a systematic plot to ensure that Dr. Joyce Banda should be incarcerated at whatever cost. The DPP government is seriously muddled with corruption, theft of public resources and general mismanagement of the economy. What else do you expect from such a government except for concocting lies against opposition leaders, particularly Dr. Joyce Banda?”
According to Chikwemba, the plot is to project Banda as the main beneficiary of cashgate.
“Since taking over power, Mutharika has consistently accused his predecessor of undermining his government. Since taking over power, Mutharika and the DPP politburo have not missed an opportunity to remind Malawians and the international community that government is failing to perform because of cashgate.
“Former Minister of Information, Kondwani Nankhumwa told Malawians that State House had submitted CCTV footage evidence showing Joyce Banda meeting with Chief cashgate suspect, Oswald Lutepo apparently exchanging looted cash. Yet CCTV cameras at State House do not work.
“Nankhumwa was at it again when, during a memorial ceremony for late Bingu wa Mutharika at Ndata Farm, he said it was Joyce Banda who killed the late President without showing any evidence to back his claims,” said Chikwemba.
According to Chikwemba, to the contrary, former President Banda showed personal commitment to fighting corruption and plunder of public resources when she was Head of State.
When loopholes in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) were uncovered, Chikwemba said Banda announced on 7th September, 2013 the introduction of measures to seal all IFMIS loopholes to root out theft, fraud and corruption.
“Her PP government drew up a comprehensive Work Plan to completely deal with corruption and plunder of public resources that was subject to regular review by a Cabinet Committee. The Work Plan was shared with donors and cooperating partners. With the help of the British government, a forensic audit into cashgate was conducted by RSM (formerly Baker Tilly). The RSM audit report was released on October 30, 2014 complete with names of the people involved in cash-gate,” he said.
Adding that in October 2013, when it became apparent that there was looting of public resources, Banda dissolved and dropped ministers who were closely linked to that looting and that several businessmen and civil servants were arrested in connection with cashgate.
Chikwemba, a former Malawi diplomat in Japan, claimed that the DPP government has mastered the art of distracting people’s attention from the real pressing issues such as the ‘maizegate’ scandal and its own MK236 billion ‘cashgate’ scandal.
“As PP, we congratulate the President for taking the bold decision to dismiss Minister of Agriculture Dr. George Chaponda for corruption. But President Mutharika must proceed with urgency to dismiss the other six cabinet ministers who appear in the MK577 billion audit report instead of wasting time pursuing his predecessor. APM cannot afford to continue to drag his feet on MK577 billion scandal because it is a ticking bomb.
“There are also other scandals that need immediate attention such as money stolen at TEVETA, the airport facelift project, Armygate, FISP, among others,” said Chikwemba.
Chikwemba said more importantly, if Mutharika is to be taken seriously on his fight against corruption and theft of public resources, he must quickly facilitate ACB structural reforms that would prevent corruption in the first place.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :