Forum petition Malawi Parliament: Act on K92bn, cashgate trail from 2005

Forum for National Development (FND) on Thursday petitioned parliament demanding the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to act responsibly and objectively in dealing with the issues of cashgate corruption scandal starting with audits from 2005 and the 2010 audit which revealed K92 billion was abused.

Reading the petition to the concerned citizens at Parliament Buildings in Lilongwe, FND National Coordinator Fryson Chodzi said the issue of cashgate is not a political issue but rather a national tragedy therefore any attempt to use the process as a point of scoring cheap political mileage will never be accepted.

“Parliament must discuss the issues of corruption sobbery and objectively knowing that it is the nation at stake. Malawi has the opportunity to deal with these issues once and for all,” he said.

If Parliament would want to go down in history as having contributed to the stopping of corruption and looted out cashgate, then it is imperative that they start by looking at all documents that relate to the same especially the Integrated Finance Management System (IFMS) of 2012, he said.

People who gathered at parliament during the presentation of FND petition
People who gathered at parliament during the presentation of FND petition

Chodzi further said that in line with the same, the plunder of public resources including properties must also be looked into by PAC like reports of Lilongwe City Council of 2011 which highlights the plunder of houses and properties that belong to the Council which the then political leaders acquired with corruption means.

“Parliament should be interested to look at such matters especially that one of the houses involved, the Alimaunde Plot number 10/365 at Ufulu Road in Area 10 as it supposed to house the Mayor of the City of Lilongwe,” he said.

With the tripartite elections ahead, what will happen to the Mayor of Lilongwe, will he also be hosted in a rented house as the current Chief Executive Officer whose house was also plundered?  he wondered .

The sold houses are linked to opposition DPP leadership who purchased them for a song then they were in power.

He, however, appealed to PAC and parliament not to use the coming session as a fundraising tool but rather deal with substantive issues of corruption, theft, fraud, looting and plunder that occurred in the country’s past and present.

Parliament and their committees should not shield anybody involved especially from the oppositions using their majority in committees as a tool to suppress justice, he said.

Receiving the petition on behalf of PAC, Mzimba Central legislature Mavuto Kachali said he will deliver the petition to the Clerk of Parliament who will in turn forward it to the Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda for appropriate action.

Malawi President Joyce Banda has said an audit has revealed that in 2010 at least 92 billion Malawi Kwacha (about US $204m) was abused from the government finance management system.

This was in reaction to a British-funded forensic audit report which revealed that 13 billion Malawi Kwacha (about US $30m) disappeared from government coffers since she took over power.

Speaking at a news conference she held in Lilongwe on Tuesday, President Banda said an audit revealed that apart from the K13 billion cashgate scandal, the country should also know what happened to the K91 billion which was abused in 2010 under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) reign.

“In 2010 an audit show that K92 billion was lost when some of us were not there including some of these ministers were not there,” Banda told reporters at the State House.

British accountancy firm, Baker Tilly, which released an independent audit report into a systematic looting of public money to explain their work to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The report doesn’t name any perpetrators but details have been passed to law-enforcement agencies including the Police.

Auditor General, Minister of Finance Maxwell Mkwezalamba and the British High Commission have refused to release the names with British High Commissioner Michael Nevin saying releasing the names now would be premature and may jeopardise the evidence trails.

In the cashgate report, the auditors describes the scale of the theft and how it operated. Drawing on a sample of 501 suspicious transactions between April and September 2013, the auditors found that around 6.1 billion kwacha ($14.5m) had been paid out to 16 companies for services that had not been supplied.

Payments with no further documents accounted for a further 4 billion kwacha. The bean-counters also found that supply contracts had been inflated by 3.6 billion kwacha. All told, the state was defrauded of around $32m, almost 1% of Malawi’s annual GDP, in just six months.—(Additional reporting by Wanga Gwede,Nyasa Times)

Forum members at Parliament
Forum members at Parliament
FNB mobilised people to gather at parliament when they presented the petition
FNB mobilised people to gather at parliament when they presented the petition

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