Former Malawi Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo, whose shooting on 13 September 2013 led to the unravelling of the systematic looting of millions of government money dubbed ‘cashgate’, has disowned statement circulating on social media quoting him blaming calling the entire government “a criminal enterprise”.
The social-media post contains response to some issues raised in the Budget statement by Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe which among others is calling fiscal chief a liar and accuse him of plotting to steal from Malawians on procurement of Ifmis [Integrated Financial Management Information System] which they say the President already told the nation that his government was procuring the software last year.
Part of the post questioned Gondwe budget statement on the proposed K5.0 billion for the procurement of new Ifmis after the old version became porous and resulted in abuse and theft of billions of taxpayers’ funds.
“Once the new software is installed, it is expected to enhance speed and security in processing Government financial transactions. In addition, it will assist in expenditure tracking and bank reconciliations,” said Gondwe.
But the social media critique it is “strange” for Gondwe to make that statement because President Peter Mutharika told the nation on 7 March this year that the procurement of Ifmis has already been finalised.
It quoted Mutharika speaking at the Bingu International Conference Centre, when launching the National Security Policy: “We have now finalised procurement of a new IFMIS software. Processing of all transactions will be in real time in all government departments everywhere. Reconciliation of accounts will be done daily. We are going to do away with cheque payments and move to Electronic Funds Transfer. Payments will be fast and secure. All financial systems will be interfaced. The IFMIS will be talking to Human Resource Management Information System and the Reserve Bank. There shall be no more ghost workers in this country.”
The statement quoting Mphwiyo querying Gondwe if the money allocated is for Ifmis or is part of looting scheme.
But commenting on it, Mphwiyo disowned the post and the quotes which some are using, saying he has never said that word to anyone including media as far as he is concerned
“As a seasoned civil servant, I neither subscribe to nor cherish the idea of dressing down my own government through the mainstream media or any social media forum. It’s not in my nature and it’s not in my training and long career in the civil service,” Mphwiyo told Nyasa Times.
When asked why he thinks people are circulating the post with his name and quoting him, Mphwiyo said “I do not know the intentions of those that are circulating such malicious statements against our finance minister using my name. As a well-trained civil servant, I know the established channels if I had any advice to offer in my area of expertise and it does not include childish, malicious and unfounded allegations in the social media against the same government that I have and continue to dutifully serve”.
Mphwiyo said having worked with Gondwe as his minister he respects him highly for his contribution to the Malawi government
“I have worked with Minister Goodall Gondwe before and I do not only respect him as a professional but also like an older statesman. Even if you asked him, I am confident that he would vouch on me not authoring any such message to him. And on a lighter note, he would recognize that my style of writing is not consistent with such low-level grammar school writing”, he said.
The old version of the software, Epicor 7.3, has been due for extensive upgrading since it was installed in 2005, but Cashgate findings by British forensic auditors, RSM (formerly Baker Tilly), established that it was grossly abused, especially by lower management accountants in the civil service some of whom are answering charges of theft in court
A former junior civil servant Victor Sithole’s arrest in August 2013 kick-started what became known as the “cashgate” affair – the worst financial scandal in the country’s history.
It became public knowledge a month later following the shooting of the finance ministry’s then budget director Paul Mphwiyo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :