Forensic auditors have uncovered a huge ‘cashgate’ amounting to more than K5.2 billion at Malawi’s giant brewery, Carlsberg Brewery Malawi Limited.
The scandal has led to the suspension of Carlsberg Malawi Financial Controller Geobra Kamanga, his deputy Austin Phiri and Ezzra Njobvu (Procurement Manager) who are suspected to have colluded to defraud the company.
According to Nyasa Times sources, the forensic experts who include one from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) uncovered the fraud mainly through purchase of raw materials like sugar and compromised procurement of raw materials and services.
“It was a network of people and this has been happening for a long time and that is why the figure is huge,” said our source that is privy to the investigation.
He added, “This could be one of the most complicated white collar crimes in Malawi so far and it was only because of these foreign investigators that the fraud was unearthed.”
A Carlsberg Malawi official who did not want to be named said some big gurus at the company became suspicious of Kamanga when he ‘mysteriously’ missed his flight to Hong Kong two weeks ago where he was going for a Board meeting together with some bosses.
“It was suspicious that he could miss his flight while he was in the VIP lounge. He had to make other arrangements but arrived in Hong Kong when everybody else including his bosses had already arrived,” said Nyasa Times source.
The source said it did not take long before the scam was discovered and Kamanga together with a few others including the procurement manager have been placed on ‘administrative leave’ until the forensic audit is concluded.
It is also being alleged that some of the suspicious transactions involve trucks and businesses of the Fachis, a well known family in Malawi that has accumulated unexplained worth in recent years.
Insiders said there was a ‘massive change’ in lifestyle of Kamanga and others as they started buying state of the art expensive cars and other things which lead to the company to hire forensic experts including one from the FBI.
But what led to the whole saga being unearthed was the arrival of auditors from Denmark.
“The auditors were suspicious when they audited the procurement and controller’s office. They found out that the cost of sales were higher in billions than what is has always been,” said the source.
“As of now the two departments are going through investigations and we are looking forward to what will transpire because the company has also called some auditors from South Africa to join the investigations,” he said.
“A directive has been made by the bosses that the investigations be finalized by the end of this month.”
Carlsberg Malawi management could not comment on the matter.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :