Former president Joyce Banda, who returned in the country last Saturday after four-years absecce, has reiterated her stand that she does not know anything to do with Cashgate, the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill, exposed under her watch in 2013 and challenged law enforcers to arrest her.
Addressing a political rally for her People’s Party (PP) in her home area of Domasi in Zomba on Sunday, Banda said the issue has been repeatedly spoken about and that she has made it clear that she played no role.
Banda said while she was in power, upon being alerted that money was being stolen in government, she publicly announced she would crack down on all thieves
“I invited opposition leaders, the clergy and civil society leaders to brief them that some unscrupulous government officials were conniving with some private businessmen to steal public funds in what later became to be known as cashgate scandal,” she said,
Later, with the help of the British government, she instituted a forensic audit, which was carried by the British-based RSM (formerly known as Baker Tilly) audit firm.
“ Following the audit, many people, including top public officers, were arrested, prosecuted and convicted in connection with cashgate,” she said.
Bansa said nowhere in the report her name was mentioned to have been part of the plunder of government money.
This, she said is confirmed by Anti Corrpution Bureau (ACB) which recently announced that after thorough investigation, they had not found any evidence linking JB to cashgate.
Banda said all talk about arrest and whatever has been mere political ploy to scare her away so that she should not return to Malawi to contribute to the political, social and economic development of the country.
She said she also has an Interpol certificate, which clears her of any wrongdoing and therefore on wanted list.
“I just heard that there was a [Malawi] police press release which said I am on Interpor list but I have a certificate from Interpol. When I left there was nobody accusing me of anything. I just went toi UN [United Nations]General Assembly.
“I assure you that I was not involved and I am the one who made the arrests and conducted the forensic audit and the report is public document,” she said
The former president challenged the law enforcers at arrest her if she has any case, saying her conscious is clear and has no any wrong doing.
“I am telling you this because I know you were worried about me. What you should know is that I am not scared. If they want, they should come and arrest me. But I am clean. If people are stealing from the people that I love they should go to prison,” she said.
Banda thanked PP executive committee members and all members of the party for preserving the party while she was away
In her speech to hundreds of supporters, Banda bemoaned the sorry state of the economy and said with unity of purpose, the tribulations would go away
She said “Malawi needs special prayers” to deal with the prevailing political, social and economic woes, asking the clergy’s indulgence.
The former president said she had been “bruised and smeared” by the allegations of Cashgate, but would not be deterred.
She has always argued that that prior to Cashgate, the K236 billion theft happened between 2009 and 2012 when former president the late Bingu Wa Mutharika was in charge, alleging that there must be a stubborn link between the K236 billion scam and Cashgate.
Banda’s sudden elevation in 2012 occurred in the bewildering 48 hours that followed the collapse of the former president, Bingu wa Mutharika, in April. As vice-president, she found herself facing down the “midnight six”, the cabinet ministers determined to keep her out of State House in favour of Mutharika’s brother, Peter, the foreign minister.
Speaking earlier PP secretary general Ibrahiom Matola announced the party would be holding a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting soon to map out the party’s way forward
Member of Parliament for Zomba Malosa and PP vice president for eastern region Roy Banda, son to the former president, said leaders who left the party are being paraded at other political parties’ rallies as ‘dolls’
He said the party belongs to the people and not a few misguided and selfish leaders.
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