Former principal secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Tressa Senzani, the first convict in Cashgate scandal who recently walked to freedom after the Malawi Prisons Service (MPS) curtailed her prison term on the grounds of good behaviour, has died.
Senzani, who was sentenced to nine months for theft and three years for money laundering after she pleaded guilty to misusing K63.5 million from government through her private company, Visual Impact, died on Monday afternoon at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre.
Her sister, Anna Kachikho, who is also Member of Parliament for Phalombe North, confired the death death of Senzani but refused to to comment further.
“This is a difficult moment , I cannot talk,” she said.
Senzani walked to freedom in October this year.
She was one of the first three people to be convicted on charges relating to Cashgate after forensic auditors RMS (formerly Baker Tilly) revealed that close to K24 billion of government money was unaccounted for within a period of six months.
She was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on October 21, 2013 for a crimes on corruption after the bureau received a complaint alleging that government officers at Capital Hill were making entries in the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis).
On August 16 2013, Senzani received K21 897 562.30 (about $60 000) from government which was deposited into the company’s National Bank of Malawi account at Capital City Branch on August 21 then, on August 26, she received a further K41 644 521 (about $109 590) from government which her husband deposited into the company’s account on the same day.
Cashgate’ unravelled following the shooting of former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo on 14 September 2013. Thereafter, huge sums of money in Malawi Kwacha, South African Rands and US dollars started showing up in unlikely places like car boots or under pillows as the suspects were avoiding formal banking since the unexplained money could have raised eye-brows.
At least 70 people were arrested and are currently facing theft, fraud, corruption and money laundering charges in courts.
Western donor nations, who bank roll at least 40 percent of Malawi’s budget, reacted by pulling the plug on the earmarked US $150m in budgetary support.
‘Cashgate’ is Malawi’s biggest financial scandal in the southern African country’s 50-year history as an independent country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :