Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)director Reyneck Matemba has updated the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee on the unaccounted for K236 billion in public funds, saying according to his investigations, no cabinet member was involved in the 13 files of the suspected Cashgate, the country’s largest financial scandal suspected to have occurred between January 2009 and December 2014.
Matemba was speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday when addressing members of the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee who demanded a report on the bureau’s operations.
Opposition lawmaker Kamlepo Kalua, who is Public Accounts Committee (PAC) vice chairperson, has been claiming that he knows of names of seven cabinet ministers implicated in the mismanagement of the public funds.
But Matemba, who became head of the ACB last year after serving as deputy director general for several years, said: “No Cabinet Minister was involved or mentioned in the [audit query].”
President Peter Mutharika branded as a lie and fabrication the rumour that there are seven cabinet ministers involved in the K236 billion Cashgate scandal.
“This is a total lie; a fabrication of a certain malicious, vicious and irresponsible editor,” sMutharika said without mentioning the name of the editor and the newspaper.
In the audit query, from the 44 companies investigations, only 13 files were completed and passed on to the ACB detailing payments to 13 companies from the Malawi Police Services (MPS) and Malawi Defence Force (MDF) a total of K17.1 billion, representing about 20 percent of the figure the auditors were investigating.
The procuring entities are reported to have used restricted tender and single source procurement to cover up anomalies between 2009 and December 31 2014.
But ACB explained that there was no evidence to suspect corruption in the manner five companies, which the bureau cleared, dealt with government.
The ACB cleared the companies based on the Attorney General’s legal opinion which concluded that there were legitimate contracts and that goods were supplied to Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Malawi Police Service (MPS) and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
The Cashgate theft is the biggest financial scandal in the history of Malawi, which depends heavily on foreign aid.
Among other issues, the committee was concerned that ACB may have lost some cases because of political interference.
The committee had earlier expressed concern over how businessperson Greselder Jeffrey, who is a parliamentarian and secretary general of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is suing the government for K70 billion compensation after winning a case she and three others were accused of abusing K187 million.
Matemba said he will ensure that he fights in court to save public funds.
In their K70 billion claim from the government, Jeffrey and the other three are suing for loss of business, defamation and malicious prosecution, among other matters.
The claim comes after the court acquittal in the K187 million case during the Bakili Muluzi administration when she and some Ministry of Education officials were accused to have stolen public funds in an audit report of March 2000 that exposed the alleged scam.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :