Ntata accepts criticism on Malawi corruption report

England-based Malawian lawyer and former Presidential legal advisor Z. Allan Ntata has said he welcomed “constructive criticism” on his report on the cash-gate scandal that has rocked the country which he has circulated widely worldwide.

Ntata received a barrage of criticism when he circulated his report titled ‘Licence to Loot’ as his critics argued he was not credible to do a “sober” report against the current government because of his political association with the previous Mutharika administration.

Government also accuse Ntata of being a “fugitive” of a treason case in which he was apparently charged along with eleven other former senior government officials in Malawi.

But speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times on Monday evening, Ntata acknowledged that his report triggered criticism but said  those criticizing “Licence to Loot” to focus on more pragmatic matters.

 Z. Allan Ntata,  Updating of the report has commenced
Z. Allan Ntata, Updating of the report has commenced

He however said: “I emphasised the fact that ‘Licence to Loot’ report is designed to help Malawi not a political campaign.”

Critics argued that Ntata’s report did not address the wrongful-self-enrichment which occurred during late Mutharika’s DPP regime in which he was part of it.

Ntata said he is updating the report which he said will be formally launched.

“Updating of the report has already commenced,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ntata in an addendum to the report explained that the ‘Licence to Loot’ report was not conceived as a report on the history of corruption in Malawi.

“My investigation focused on the Cashgate Scandal. In my investigations of the background to Cashgate, I could not establish the existence of a systemic and presidentially sanctioned corruption syndicate similar to the one exposed by Cashgate. If this happened under the previous regime, then it is a matter that requires a more thorough investigation,” he said.

Ntata said his investigations reveal that much of the corruption that happened under late Mutharika involved kickbacks, patronage and bribes.

“Much of this happened in the second term. There were tight fiscal controls in the first term and the opposition was strong enough to exercise effective oversight. Corruption during this period also comprised of monopoly of business by few business empires connected to the President and to the president’s Lomwe tribe.

“The current PP government claims that MK90bn was looted directly through Treasury during the Mutharika period, but this is unverified,” he said.

According to Ntata, under the previous regime, services were being delivered, but contracts were limited to very few people with connections to the President and to the DPP.

“Under Joyce Banda people and companies are being paid billions without delivering any service at all.”

He said his investigation on the level of corruption in the previous regime is still ongoing.

“To unearth the full extent of corruption in Malawi and quantify the totality of funds lost in the past administrations, and to assess the effects of this on the Malawian economy I need insider intelligence and other financial and human resources. However, on the basis of the available evidence, I submit that the level of corruption under the previous president did not reach the levels of the current one.”

The trained lawyer said in the cashgate scam, criminal conviction of those implicated in the scandal is crucial, as well as recovery of the assets accumulated at the expense of the poor Malawian taxpayer.

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