Civil society organisations (CSOs) have described the fresh cashgate deals busted through flawed maize purchase procedures from Zambia as disturbing, and have said they will go to the streets for protests as they since demanded that all contracts between the Government of Malawi be suspended with immediate effect.
The CSOs – Youth and Society (YAS), Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), Church and Society (Livingstonia Synod), CCJP (Mzuzu Diocese), National Advocacy Platform (NAP), Foundation for Justice Support, FERO and human rights activist Billy Mayaya – during a presser in Mzuzu Wednesday also declared February 28 a day for nationwide mass civil action against gross corruption and impunity under the current political administration.
In a joint statement the CSOs said the uncovering of the millions of local and foreign cash at the residence of fired Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was shocking.
“This suspicious development smacks of criminal acts akin to the 2013 infamous cash-gate in which several public servants were caught with bags of money looted from the public purse. We are left with the impression that looting of public resources (cash-gate) by public servants has continued since 2014 under President Mutharika’s watch,” reads the statement in part.
As part of their eight demands and recommendations, the watchdogs among others demand that Chaponda be arrested forthwith and face the law and also that Pres Peter Mutharika must address the nation on “this fresh cashgate case involving a senior Cabinet Minister in his administration within the next 48 hours.”
The CSOs also commend ACB and the Police for join and swift action on Chaponda, senior ADMARC officials and Trans-Globe.
“To this effect, we call upon government and development partners to extend their adequate support to the ACB and Police to support their operations and ensure their operations and ensure their personal safety as they embark on this challenging task.
“We further appeal to ACB not to be swayed by the Money laundering or cash gate discovery into forgetting the original case for which a conviction will be most appropriate and supported outcome of the matter,” said the statement further.
Government spokesman Nicholous Dausi said CSOs are entitled to “have an opinion” but said they should allow for the due process of the law in the maizegate scandal.