When Malawi President Peter Mutharika talks about not having names of seven cabinet minusters implicated in the mismanagement of the public funds – the cashgate – he is lying, opposition lawmaker Kamlepo Kalua has aid.
Kalua, who is also vice chairman of Parliamentary’s Public Accounts Committe, accused President Mutharika of lying to Malawians that he does not have the names of the corrupt ministers, saying he has the names in the report which his committee also has.
Seven cabinet ministers are reported to be implicated in the K577 billion (about $856 million) financial analysis report of what has been dubbed the Capital Hill ‘cash-gate’ scandal, named after the seat of government.
Mutharika speaking on MBC TV’s “Talk to the President” programme insisted that he too was awaiting the release of the cashgate names so that the necessary investigations coud be initiated.
He added that he had not received any names in connection with the audit query as yet.
But Kalua said the report which his committe has with names of cabinet ministers and business companies was also submitted to the Head of State.
“We have the names. The President also has the names,” said Kalua on DayBreak Malawi program on Capital Radio.
“The President is lying when says he has no names. The President has the information,” said Kalua.
Kalua said they President Mutharika to be honest.
Mutharika came under increasing pressure to sack the seven senior cabinet ministers, after a contradictory statement from State House, saying that Mutharika was refusing to fire them
The President said he will deal decisively with corrupt ministers when he gets a report implicating them.
But despite names of the Cashgate suspects being kept under wraps by the Auditor General, Stepheson Kamphasa, the details of individuals allegedly implicated have been coming out in public domain .
Social media is awash with the names that include Mutharika’s strong man, Agriculture Minister George Chaponda, Mutharika’s right hand-man, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe, and Mutharika’s inner circle of Labour Minister Henry Mussa as being among the seven.
In parliament, Mzimba West MP Harry Mkandawire (PP) mentioned leader of the house George Chaponda as one of the rotten ministers .
Chaponda denied any involvement.
Revelations of the K577 billion cashgate came hot on the heels of a forensic audit report by British firm, RSM (formely called Baker Tilly), that established that K24 billion was looted from Capital Hill between April and September 2013 under the administration of Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP).
Banda is on record saying “ There must be a stubborn link between the MK577 billion scandal of 2009 and 2012 and the MK20 billion cashgate of 2013.”
The ‘grand corruption’ audit report will be a stern test to President Mutharika committement to fight corruption without fear or favour.
Observers also note that lack of political will has crippled Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau, undermining their efforts through political interference and threats.
Given Malawi’s political patronage system, it is highly unlikely that President Mutharika will put his trusted ministers in the dock .
Political analysts claim that Mutharika’s reluctance to crackdown on the corrupt gangasters in cabinet was due to his own brother, late President Bingu wa Mutharika, being implicated in the scandal.
Leadership, like fish, rots from the head downwards to the tail. If the tail begins to smell bad, then know the head is rotten to the core or is no longer there at all.
So many corrupt officials remain free with delays in prosecutions, that the first person to be convicted, Treza Namathanga Senzani, is due to soon be released after serving her three-year sentence for fraud.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :