Joyce Banda reacts to Senzani claims: There must be ‘stubborn link’ of K577bn cashgate to K20bn looting

Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda has reacted to allegations by convicted Ministry of Tourism and Culture principal secretary (PS) Ms Treza Namathanga Senzani who is currently serving a three-year sentence after being found guilty of involvement in Cashgate—the plunder of billions of kwacha of public funds –that the highest level of Banda’s administration was involved in Cashgate.

Joyce Banda: Former Malawi president says There must be a stubborn link of K577 billion DPP-era cashgate and K20 billion PP-era cashgate

Joyce Banda: Former Malawi president says There must be a stubborn link of K577 billion DPP-era cashgate and K20 billion PP-era cashgate

According to witness statements tendered in court as part of the prosecution of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo— Senzani alleges that Banda told Cabinet ministers to solicit campaign funds for the May 20 Tripartite Elections from their respective ministries hence the birth of cashgate.

But in a media statement released on Monday which Nyasa Times was emailed, Banda through her media liason officer Tusekele Mwanyongo expressed “utmost shock” and “disbelief”on Senzani allegations.

“Mrs. Senzani was the only PS involved in cashgate. Mrs. Senzani was tried and convicted based on her own guilty plea and she was sentenced to serve a prison term. I am not surprised by Mrs. Senzani’s allegations because I have received information from several serving senior civil servants that they are also being pressurized by the DPP government of President Peter Mutharika to implicate me and former members of my cabinet in cashgate in the same manner Mrs. Senzani has done,” said Banda in the statement.

She said Senzani’s allegations are “unfounded”, explain that such a serious matter could have leaked immediately cabinet discussed it, as alleged, “especially considering that my cabinet was comprised of not only PP members but ministers appointed from other political parties such as AFORD and UDF. The recent leakage of cabinet resolution on the Access to Information Bill (ATI) as published in the media attests to this fact.”

The former president said the alleged cabinet meeting did not take place and that no such matter was discussed at any cabinet meeting during her tenure.

“Cabinet meetings are attended not only by ministers but also PSs and other technocrats. Therefore, it is wrong to suggest that political party matters could be discussed at a cabinet meeting when civil servants belong to different political parties. No scheme to steal government money for purposes of financing one political party would succeed because someone is bound to raise an alarm,” stated Banda.

Senzani implicates former minister of information Brown Mpinganjira and former PP official Hophmally Makande to have been key players in the plot to siphon money out of the State coffers for the political campaign.

Cashgate convicted prisoner Senzani: Mphwiyo was at the centre of the cashgate scheme

Cashgate convicted prisoner Senzani: Mphwiyo was at the centre of the cashgate scheme

She alleges that Mphwiyo was at the centre of the scheme which Senzani participated in alongside convicted Leonard Kalonga.

Senzani alleges that Kalonga claimed that Mphwiyo would call Makande and Mpinganjira and put their phone calls on loudspeaker to assure those involved that the move was sanctioned at “a higher level.”

But Banda said the allegations are both “confusing and contradictory.”

She stated: “ For example, she alleges that she had overheard Mr. Leonard Kalonga, Director of Tourism at that time, speaking on the phone to PP senior officials, Messrs. Brown Mpinganjira and Hophmally Makande about ‘stealing’ government money to finance PP campaign. She claims that it is that conversation that motivated her to join in and indulge in theft of government money.

“It is common knowledge that a PS is the most senior official after minister. Mr. Kalonga was an ordinary Director who did not have direct access to the PS office. One wonders where and how Mrs. Senzani ‘overheard’ Mr. Kalonga discussing such a sensitive matter with Messrs. Brown Mpinganjira and Hophmally Makande and then voluntarily decided to join the ‘bandwagon’.”

Banda continued to state: “ Malawians may wish to appreciate the fact that Mrs. Senzani is the only PS who was implicated in cashgate; tried, convicted and sentenced. If it were a cabinet decision to steal from all ministries, why were the other PSs not involved?”

The former PS who is serving a three-year custodial sentence at Maula Prison following her conviction also implicate former minister of touring Racheal Mazombwe Zulu and that she personally delivered K20 million cash looted to her.

But Banda wondered why did Senzani not consult her fellow PSs to confirm if they had received similar instructions to plunder.

“Since it was a cabinet directive as she claims who did she give the money that she stole to? Does a signature of receipt exist? One also wonders why her minister, Mrs. Rachel Mazombwe Zulu’s name, has not featured throughout Mrs. Senzani’s trial and it is only coming up now?”

In the statement, Banda made an “interesting observation” that according to investigations, cashgate occurred between April and August 2013 and that prior to that, “we have evidence that there was another cashgate of MK577 billion theft of public money between 2009 and 2012 that donors and Malawians are pressing for speedy investigation.”

She added: “ Mrs. Senzani’s mansion, which has also been a subject of cashgate investigations, was not built between April and August 2013. Looking at her income as PS, she could not have accumulated such wealth to build the said mansion. After all, she had been PS for a few months. Is it wrong therefore to suggest that the construction of that mansion in Area 36 in Lilongwe was financed by money from the MK577 billion scandal that happened during the late President Bingu wa Mutharika and DPP reign?

“ There must be a stubborn link between the MK577 billion scandal of 2009 and 2012 and the MK20 billion cashgate of 2013. This is why I insist a forensic audit into the MK577 billion must take place as a matter of urgency, especially because both incidences happened within the five-year term of President Bingu wa Mutharika, which I completed when he died in 2012.”

Banda, who currently lives outside Malawi in self -imposed exile, has always insisted of her innocence and claimed in the statement that there are regime “attempts” to tarnish her name and legacy, accuding President Peter Mutharika “personally” and the DPP government.

The former president said it is “ immoral” for her successor “ to abuse his immunity from prosecution by scandalizing my name”, saying “.I would have wished I met him in court so he can prove my guilt to the entire world. “

Banda said “Malawians are wise people and cannot listen to these shallow allegations.”

She stated: “ It does not happen anywhere in the world that a government forces people who have already been tried, convicted and sentenced to alter their statements simply to tarnish the image of political opponents.”

Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director general Reyneck Matemba, who also heads the graft-busting body’s prosecution and legal teams, confirmed about the Senzani statement as part of the disclosures in the Mphwiyo case.

Matemba has however expressed disappointment over the leakage of the witness statement before court proceedings, but acknowledged that its security was beyond the ACB after the prosecution released it to over 19 co-accused persons, including Mpwhiyo, in a case where they are accused of a role in laundering K2.4 billion (about $3.6 million).

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Kapolo wa Mudzi
Guest

JB does not have a case to answer in court,but she can defend herself through media in other allegations that are layed against her,Other wise,Ngooooooooooo,mtima pansi masten,Kodi simunamve zomwe wanena Edge Kanyongolo? mbuli in a DPP

Zikagwa
Guest
Much as I see some sense in what Joyce Banda is saying, but I think she is a troubled woman running from some truth and fishy dealings she knows well. First she said she is out to undertake some engagements to do with her foundation. Then she said she cannot come back because she fears for her security. Later on she goes to say there is no house for her. Then she declines an offer of a house saying it’s of low standard. Now she says someone is being pressurised to implicate her and rushes out in defense. What is… Read more »
mulamu pelekani@gmail.com
Guest
Why Malawian are more hard on JB with MK 20 billion but not hard on brother Muntharika with MK577 billion which donors want to be investigated, but DDP dont only PPs? Is it because one is a woman? Is it ok for a Man to steal so much? Are we still in old sten age where a man is worth more than a woman? If we are then Malawi and Malaians will never develope. Both DDP and PP are involved in Cash Gate. Bingu became one o African richest man in Africa within 10 years of his bad ruling Malawi.… Read more »
DR.CASHGATE
Guest

My advise to JB is that she should not waste time in defending herself in public though it is her right, but she must just come and face those who are linking her to cashgate after all I don’t see any circumstantial evidence incriminating her. Even those phone conversations won’t be enough proof to arrest her.

Suspect zero37
Guest

Tinene kuti mukukana kuti simunabe nao? Chabwino tavomereza kuti simunabe nao koma tabweranitu kuno kumudzi kuti tizazale chimanga mvulatu yagwa

Dr.Mabushu
Guest

A MP No81, Court is not hunting for Joyce Banda and dont force her to do so!! She has a right to stay and die there!!!! Jack up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Balamanthu
Guest
The DPP government is very good at diverting attention from main issues to nonsense.It is now diverting attention from the suffering and discontent Malawians are experiencing to Cashgate.This is just one lame stupid excuse which the DPP thinks all Malawians believe.It cannot be used as an excuse for the current suffering of Malawians. Cabinet decisions as JB alludes to are documented.Can Senzani point to the date of the Cabinet minutes that noted the discussion to raise finance for PP campaign and why have these Cabinet minutes been summoned? More fundamentally, why should we believe statements from a SELF confessed convict… Read more »
Saweta Njoka Mnyumba
Guest

Joyce Banda wayamba kale……., wayamba kale……., kunjenjemera! kunjenjemera……. ha ha ha! I That song comes to mind. By the way who is your legal adviser? Sorry to ask this stupid question when I know very well that you are married to the “best lawyer’ the country has ever produced. Please save your “defence” for the courts. You will have ample time to defend yourself.

Shumba
Guest

I think u’re stupid and foolish man, akutuma a dpp eti???,

levelheaded
Guest
Looking from what JB is saying,it means this woman can not stand a case. She is immature,in short she is dull. She is convicting herself,if she were smart she could have remained quite so that the prosecutors could not dig holes in what she is saying beforehand. It seems she is agreeing on the allegations but she want to tell the public that this started long time back before her tenure which won’t buy her any sympathy. If the mentioned phone calls were there indeed then the court can just trace them from airtel or tnm and use the findings… Read more »
mp
Guest

Madam Jb, I am sure u know that the best avenue for u to clear ur name are the courts? I am very surprised u seem to opt for the media oother than courts? Where on earth are court issues adressed thru the press? Is there something iin particular that ua running away from, such tthat u cant courageously face theese pipo in court?

wpDiscuz

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