Pursue K92bn Bingu-era Cashgate, Mutharika govt challenged

Some Members of Parliament, civil society leaders and party representatives are calling on the National Assembly to act responsibly and objectively in dealing with the issues of cashgate corruption scandal starting with audits from 2005 and the 2010 audit which revealed K92 billion was abused.

An audit revealed that in 2010 at least 92 billion Malawi Kwacha (about US $204m) was abused from the government finance management system.

Recently, a British-funded forensic audit report revealed that 13 billion Malawi Kwacha (about US $30m) disappeared from government coffers since 2012 in Joyce Banda-era.

President Peter Mutharika: Will he allow Bingu-era cashgate to get to its logical conclusion?
President Peter Mutharika: Will he allow Bingu-era cashgate to get to its logical conclusion?

Mangochi Central MP (UDF), Clement Chiwaya, who was also a member of Public Appointments Committee of parliament (PAC,) said the new committee should be allowed to do more work to “fill the gaps.”

Chiwaya said Malawians deserve to know who plundered the money from the genesis of Cashgate.

Forum for National Development (FND) national coordinator Fryson Chodzi said Parliament and law enforcing agencies need to start by looking at all documents that relate to the cashgate especially the Integrated Finance Management System (IFMS) of 2012.

Chodzi further said that in line with the same, the plunder of public resources including properties must also be looked into by PAC like reports of Lilongwe City Council of 2011 which highlights the plunder of houses and properties that belong to the Council which the then political leaders acquired with corruption means.

The sold houses are linked to DPP leadership who purchased them for a song then they were in power.

Influential newspaper columnist George Kasakula argued on his My Diary column in Weekend Nation that in pursuing Cashgate there should not be “selective justice”.

“Cashgate started during DPP’s time before Bingu’s death. Inclusive justice must make sure that all thieves are brought to book,” he pointed out.

He said it is only inclusive justice that will call cause for celebration that “rule of law is working in Malawi.”

And donors have also asked that the new DPP government to clean up the mess as a result of the Cashgate scandal in which billions were stolen from Treasury or it should forget about direct aid.

As part of the K92 billion Bingu wa Mutharika-era Cashgate, the National Audit Office (NAO) named 54 firms that received about K6.3 billion in suspicious payments from the Malawi Police Service (MPS).

Some of the notable transactions whose value for money NAO could not ascertain include 17 payments to an electrical firm amounting to K1.8 billion; nine payments to another company worth about K1.2 billion; two payments of K150 million to a security equipment supplier; six payments of K123 million to a pharmaceutical firm belonging to a well-known DPP sympathiser and financier.

An analysis of the company names shows that most of the firms appearing in the Mutharika-era audit report are also featuring in the Cashgate investigations conducted since September last year.

In both cases, civil servants appear to have connived with companies to abuse Ifmis.

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