Claims by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government that it has in possession of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage showing former president Joyce Banda meeting chief cashgate suspect, Oswald Lutepo, are only a creation to implicate the former Head of State in the infamous financial scandal, it has been learnt.
Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa told a media conference in Lilongwe on Thursday that government had since handed over the CCTV footage to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) for their examination and action.
ACB deputy director Reyneck Matemba feigned ignorance on the availability of the CCTV footage .
“We are not aware of that. I wouldn’t call it a lie but we are not aware of that,” said Matemba.
The claims by Nankhumwa come fast on the heels of an interview aired on Zodiak Broadcasting Station on Friday, November 21, 2014, where Lutepo claimed that Banda had engaged him to steal public funds on her behalf.
But a reliable State House security sources told Nyasa Times from Lilongwe that while there are CCTV cameras at Kamuzu Palace and in other state residences, they have not been functional for a long, long time.
“With due respect, the Minister is churning lies; the cameras have not been working for a long time, since the time of the late President Professor Bingu wa Mutharika. There have not been working since Joyce Banda became President until she moved of State House. They are not even working during the reign of President Peter Mutharika,” said the State House security source.
He explained that when the late President Bingu wa Mutharika died, there was no CCTV footage to demonstrate what had actually happened to the former President because the cameras do not work. In the end, he said, what the nation knows about the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika is only the version of those that were closest to him at the time of his collapse.
The security officer also said meeting rooms at State House are not fitted with cameras.
“ If there were indeed CCTV at Kamuzu Palace for example, the nation could have known the circumstances surrounding the death of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika, especially the role that one Agnes Penemulungu, played. The Commission of Inquiry that was instituted to probe the death of President Mutharika never had any access to CCTV footage except for interviewing people,” said the source.
He also said due to non operation of CCTV cameras, the state security fialed to trace people who took bags of money in the bedroom of late president Mutharika, his rosary and 28 gold cart Rolex wrist watches.
The suspected mastermind of cashgate, Lutepo, served as PP deputy director for recruitment and sensitisation. He recently claimed that he was a conduit for the party’s war chest ahead of the 2014 Tripartite Elections.
Banda shot down Lutepo claims and denies any wrong doing and the Baker Tilly forensic audit report also exonerated her.
Lutepo accepted his wrongdoing in cashgate as part of his plea bargain and stressed he won’t go alone.
“I am ready to prove my claim. Come what may, I will stand to the truth,” said Lutepo, calling on government to start afresh the investigations into cashgate.
Lutepo faces theft and money laundering charges of K2.6 billion (about $6.8m) in the wake of the Capital Hill Cashgate scam which was widely exposed following the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September 2013.
But he was used as a State witness on the K1.2 billion thefts and money laundering case against fellow suspect Victor Sithole who was convicted and now serving nine years jail.
The Cashgate scandal saw some Malawi public servants – in collusion with various contractors – siphon millions of dollars from government coffers for goods and/or services not rendered.
As a result of the scandal, Malawi’s major donors suspended up to 40% of their aid to the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :