Mutharika says cashgate ‘crocodiles’ still causing damage

Malawi’s opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika has accused government of favouritism towards some of the suspects in connection with the looting of billions of kwacha from government coffers – cashgate scandal.

Mutharika, a law professor, condemned the government of  engaging in a prosecution charade where  main ‘cashgaters’ are not in the dock to face trial in a  case that has become a litmus test for foreign donors backing the government of Joyce Banda.

“The alleged culprits are known but they are being shielded by this government,” said Mutharika during a news conference at his Area 43 residence in the capital Lilongwe monitored by this reporter on Zodiak Broadcasting Service rebroadcast Thursday evening.

Mutharika:  There is selective prosecution
Mutharika: There is selective prosecution

Mutharika accused government of “selective prosecution” and called on authorities to “bring real culprits to book.”

The DPP leader blamed authorities of arresting “small fishes” and leaving “crocodiles still swimming and causing more damage.”

Mutharika also said he was prepared to declare his wealth and be accountable to the electorate.

“I declared my assets when I was MP. I earned my money having worked for 40 years. I have no problem in declaring my assets. I will be prepared to declare my assets,” he said.

Mutharika said instead of political witch-hunting: “As a nation, we must deal with the existing hunger situation, breakdown of security which has left us living in constant fear every day and not knowing what will happen to us next day, the coming May 20 elections are crucial because this country faces unprecedented challenges.”

On the issue of selective prosecution, one of the key suspects who remains remanded at Kasungu prison, Pika Manondo also alleged the State is shielding and protecting some suspects involved in the cashleak at Capital Hill. He claimed that others are even being accorded with VIP treatment and some not touched.

Manondo has vowed that he will reveal details of the cash gate scheme when time comes in court, vowing that he is prepared to die for his cause to “spill the beans”.

Minister of Justice Fahad Assani has brushed off the assertion by Manondo labelling them as mere allegations aimed at attracting sympathy from the public.

Assani is on record saying the cashgate trial will be done “step by step” and indicated that there will more arrests including of the prominent people implicated.

The Justice Minister could not name some of the people implicated but hinted they were “big fishes”.

On his part, the director of public prosecutions Bruno Kalemba said “there are warrants of arrest and a lot of follow-ups.”

With presidential elections on May 20, the cashgate scandal has become a hot political issue.

President Joyce Banda has said she took a “political risk” to launch a fight against corruption closer to the elections. She said the fight against corruption “must come first, winning elections comes second to me”.

“If I do not win the elections because I was fighting corruption, I am very comfortable with that,” she said.

Cashgate cuts deeply both economically and politically which caused many foreign donors to halt aid in a country where 40 percent of the budget comes from abroad.

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