Have we forgotten about the K236bn Cashgate?

Former president Bakili Muluzi once said “Amalawi sachedwa kuyiwala (Malawians forget quickly).” He was referring to the atrocities the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) committed during its 31 years in power under the reign of Kamuzu Banda. And they are not few. Ironically Muluzi was once MCP’s secretary general. In that position he was the party’s second most influential man. After Kamuzu. But when Muluzi was making that statement at a rally, he rightly expected that Malawians had forgotten all that. This was when he was campaigning for a third term or an open term. It flopped.

Muluzi eventually settled for Bingu wa Mutharika to succeed him. And not Justin Malewezi his vice-president for two terms. Muluzi’s third term bid flopped not because Malawians forgot anything. But because they remembered that they had the Constitution which put a cap on presidential terms. They also remembered that Muluzi’s 10-year rule had failed to lift them out of abject poverty. At the time Muluzi was campaigning for a third and open term as president, donors who were contributing 40 percent to the national budget had also abandoned the country.

But perhaps Muluzi was right after all. The famous or infamous Cashgate was first noted in 2005 although it was mostly exposed in 2013. This is according to a forensic audit of the government of Malawi by auditors-RSM Risk Assurance Services LLP of the United Kingdom (UK). By 2014, the malfeasance could no longer be swept under the carpet. Hard cash in millions of kwacha was being kept or transported in boots of cars. A help hand spotted one of them. This led to more ‘discoveries’.

The Baker Tilly forensic audit only picked six months of the 2009–2014 plunder-from April to September, 2013-and uncovered that during this period alone civil servants and businesspersons had looted K24 billion from the public purse.

When Rumphi East legislator Kamlepo Kaluwa was vocal about seven ministers in the Peter Mutharika administration were alleged to have been mentioned in the K236 billion Cashgate report, the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) went for him. But no-one in this government wants to talk about that report. The issue now seems to be water under the bridge. All attention is focused on the tripartite elections. With elections only seven months away, there must be a huge sigh of relief among the seven ministers alleged to have been mentioned in the report. Amalawi anaiwala. (Malawians forgot about the plunder of K236 billion spanning 2009 and 2014).

When the Salima South member of Parliament Uladi Mussa was acting People’s Party president, and was vocal against government, it (government) went for him over allegations that he issued permits or passports to undeserving immigrants. Now that he is politically correct after taking camouflage in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that case is dead. Amalawi anaiwala. The same Uladi Mussa who was being demonized while in opposition is now a hero in DPP as its vice president for the centre.

How Malawi lost K577 billion or K236 billion will never be concluded under this regime. It is a forgotten issue. It is only ‘petty’ bulawulas who have the cheek to talk about it. But these are the issues opposition politicians-MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera, United Transformation’s Movement’s Saulos Klaus Chilima, People’s Party JB, ought to be pushing. At what stage is the forensic audit report (if any) about the whopping K236 billion looted from the public pulse between 2009 and 2014? Of course, there have been other Cashgates-the 4.3 million liters of fuel (of 76 tankers of 35 000 litres each)-vanishing at Escom, the audit report about materials worth over K10 billion Escom procured which may never be used in the next 10 years. Billions of kwacha vanishing at the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc). Mystery still surrounds the K1.9 billion of the K2.9 billion that Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) board approved to give to Admarc for maize purchases in 2016. Some 20 MPs embezzled Constituency Development Funds-what is the status of this issue; five years after government’s Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) was hacked, improving public finance management remains a mirage as government is yet to procure a foolproof Ifmis. The Malawi Electoral Commission warehouse in Lilongwe gutted immediately after the court ruled that there should be a recount of votes is a forgotten issue.

Meanwhile, the country has plunged further on the corruption perception index. As a result of all these, donors are yet to return to Malawi as they strongly believe Account Number One is a leaking bucket. The ultra poor will continue to be marginalized. Why? Because they forgot why they are in this predicament. Muluzi was very right.Amalawi sachedwa kuyiwala.

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Luka
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Luka

. . . which just goes to show: we may have forgotten just about everything we ever read in school, but we have not forgotten this line from Chinua Achebe’s ‘No Longer at Ease’: ‘. . . if you want to eat a toad, you should look for a fat and juicy one.’

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

The looting of R1.8b from a bank has caused so much political fallout and outcry from the public in such a way that the social discourse is about to change with a number of politicians locked up. We have R4.3b looted from govt coffers in Malawi and no major accountability consequences with a head of state covering up and defending the culprits. The citizens themselves have taken a casual attitude to the matter. RSA has a budget which is 50 times that of Malawi and yet taking the looting of R1.8b very very seriously. We Malawians are just read and… Read more »

ndele
Guest
ndele

mdhara uyu ndi sarcastic dumbo lemeon. we trusted you but bluffed kumagawa ndalama and all the mess when we thought you could bring and continue where Kamuzu left, but closures privatazations and loss of jobs to many.
and then you introduced STATE WEDDINGS Splashing splashing splashing money. our TAXES. Think twice mdhara

Napoleon Muza
Guest

Is this piece indeed the work of Steve? I believe Muluzi was right to remind Malawians of the atrocities the Malawians suffered under MCP regime. Those who can not remember are those who enjoyed it. Who would have loved to see people run away from Chamwaka, forced to pay membership cards, sleeping on empty tummy but forced to agree people have food, people missing in their own nation , no relative to ask etc Much as I know Kamulepo he did not stop because MRA went after him , but the truth is that there were no names mentioned I… Read more »

Mchacha the Terrorist
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Mchacha the Terrorist

@ Napoleon So DPP is the devil right ?. This is in your own words. Thanks for this information. I take that Malawians are smart people who cannot keep on flirting with the devil. The Bible and the Koran sternly warn us against flirting with the devil. Napoleon your message is loud and clear. Don’t worry about us deciding between the devil and a saint we don’t know. We will pass our verdict in 2019. But one thing that is certain for us is that it will be stupid of us to keep on flirting with the devil because that… Read more »

Napoleon Muza
Guest

Terrorist, which bible tells you that you have saint. Are terrorist saints? Kikikikiki. Oh my God, There are no saints in the whole universe. Don’t be cheated, I wonder if you are a Christian indeed, anyway, terrorist is also a religion on the wicked. No saint including you, hence you say you are a terrorist. What pleases you to use that wicked name? Ask Chilima every Sunday or Saturday he goes to the priest for sacrament of repentance, if he is a saint, what does he repent . Stop dreaming.

Achiswe
Guest

My fellow countrymen, we forget all that corruption at our peril. If it is not sorted out, it will continue, and we will be the ones to suffer; The current government has certainly failed to tackle corruption and no one believes anymore the President’s boasts about what he has done to move the country forward. As long as there is corruption the country will go backwards.

Nalingula
Guest
Nalingula

We have forgotten. Even if APM were to Resign from DPP today and form his own Movement utha kuwona Momwe Amalawi Angamusapotere.Steve, you too have forgotten that Chilima has been Vice President for four Years and is Still in that Position.Koma Poti palowa Njoka ndie kukumakuwidwa kuti Anzanga Thandizeni!Mbewa mutadya nokha zaka Zinayi.We have forgotten the Chasowa and Njauju cases.What Amazes me is that Amatoyamba kuyiwala ndi Anthu antaoni Oti Amawerenga News ,namawonela TV daily. No wonder tizipitirirabe kulira Ziko lino.We have even forgotten kuti we are Borrowing Heavily – namatonamizana kuti Ziko litoyenda kupanda ma Donor.Wait until China takes… Read more »

Shitholes Diarrhoea Progressive Party
Guest

Atrocities and oppression are completely two different things. Oppression is when a person or group in a position of power controls the less powerful in a cruel or unfair ways. The Lomwes are oppressing us through theft, quota system and denying others of opportunities. Genocide is an example of atrocities.

Nzika ya Malawi
Guest
Nzika ya Malawi

Braveheart wabodza iwe! Which Mutharika has been able to run the government without donor support? Isn’t he the one who moves around with a begging bowl? You are a boot & an ass licker. You behave and talk as if amakugawira eti? Malawi is in a bad shape because of this Ibu and headless chicken Mutharika. We are always in blackout despite paying for electricity & commodity prices are sky rocketting as the country is in auto-drive

Shitholes Diarrhoea Progressive Party
Guest

Check the meaning of atrocities in a simple dictionary and see if it applies to Malawi. Is selling of party cards atrocities? Is forcing women to dance an atrocity? Is jailing thieves like Brown Mpinganjira and those that were a threat to security of the majority atrocities? Yes bad things happened but not tantamount to atrocities. A yufi amagwira Mbava in locations. They increased security besides being notorious when selling party cards. What we see today is worse. Our taxes are being stolen by the biggest man or the first citizen thus denying Malawians of basic needs in hospitals and… Read more »

pathfinder
Guest
pathfinder

Its not called Kuyiwala you idiot, its called moving on!

Mchacha the Terrorist
Guest
Mchacha the Terrorist

@ pathfinder

Isn’t this hypocrisy that you want us to move on from DPP thievery and stick around with MCP ‘s misrule during the single party era?.

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