So, now what? Muckraking on Malawi cashgate audit report

 “Be realistic, demand the impossible!” –Ernesto Che Guevara

Is it only me who thinks the publication of the Baker Tilly report by the Malawi Government is ill-advised, premature, misguided and risky?

Nankhumwa (left ) Tembenu right handing over Baker Tilly Report

Nankhumwa (left ) Tembenu right handing over Baker Tilly Report

I will explain why I hold that view a little later.

But, of course, most of us wanted the famous – read ‘infamous’ – ‘cashgate’ report published ‘yesterday’ for no other reasons than the ‘entertainment’ part of it. We envisioned certain names in there and we were salivating as to when they will be laid bare.

But I know that after government was pressurised into publishing it most of us were disappointed because the report – if truth be told – did not have the wow! factor, if you see what I mean.

Look, going through the report, one begins to understand why the British advised government against making it public. You see, the report is nothing but a bad draft of ‘work in progress’. For all it is worth, the report clearly confesses that in most – if not all – cases there is need for further investigations.

I actually do not understand why the duo of the learned Samuel Tembenu and Kalekeni Kaphale could not advise government on the folly of going public with such a half-baked report. Of course, the Justice Minister now wears two hats – that of a lawyer and a politician. Maybe good ol’ Sam is learning fast that rationality is not a virtue in politics.

I know the DPP-led government was under extreme pressure to release the Baker Tilly report because, after all, the party promised on the campaign trail that it would release the report once it won the elections. Holding on to it could have, therefore, excited uncomfortable suggestions that maybe the report contains certain names whose publication may embarrass government.

But the Attorney General, as Chief Legal Advisor of government, should have guided the politicians well. Political expediency should not have informed good judgment.

Look, the release of the report has only succeeded in providing Malawians with some juicy weekend reading, some free entertainment. It is actually a trending issue on facebook and twitter.
But, other than the entertainment part of it, it has also succeeded in complicating, nay, jeopardising the work of the ACB.

This is how I mean…to most of us, those ‘named and shamed’ are the ‘bad guys’ that robbed us blind, they must be sent to the cleaners.

But if you read the report with a sober mind, this is clearly ‘work in progress’; more work needs to be done. The report actually says it cannot be used in any sane court of law.

Look, it even found some people guilty by association. According to the gospel according to the Baker Tilly report, if your lover is a thief you too must be a thief! What rubbish is that!

But to the common man in the streets, after this ‘naming and shaming’ phase, they need action. And now! But the ACB cannot just arrest ‘a person of interest’ without incontrovertible evidence.

However, any delay in effecting arrests of these ‘named and shamed’ bad guys, the ACB will be accused of shielding certain ‘sacred cows’.

For folks at the ACB, their work is cut out for them and I do not envy their situation. They have to juggle between doing a professional job, that needs time, and satisfying public opinion.

Look what is happening now; the Attorney General himself has started exonerating some of the people ‘named and shamed’ in the report. The big question should be: if the whole chief legal advisor of the whole government has started saying certain names should not have been on the list of those to be ‘named and shamed’, why did he not advise the Justice Minister properly?

Apart from those whom Kalekeni Kaphale is publicly willing to exonerate, who else was not supposed to be on the list of the ‘named and shamed’?

If my idea of the workings of government is up-to-date, before Samuel Tembenu called Kondwani Nankhumwa to join him at that exposé press conference, he should have consulted with Kalekeni Kaphale to clear all legal cobwebs.

But when you have the whole Attorney General seemingly trying to second-guess his own Justice Minister, you know you have a government system in disconnect.

But, after all is said and done, although it has come as an anti-climax, at least Malawians have the report they have been yearning for. Whether the ‘named and shamed’ bad guys are as black as they are painted is the sequel Malawians are impatiently waiting for in the ‘cashgate’ fairytale.

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banda rodgers
Guest

With federal govt it was going to be easy to trap the culprits. With this modern system leaders are just pirates sweeping money away. Even those on investigation are either part of the cashgate or bought. Nothing positive will come out. If something positive will come out very few will be caught. These people are numerous, hence, leaders are to blame, who are just left free.

Cicero
Guest

The big problem lies in us Malawians voluntarily voting for thieves into government. Why vote for DPP, PP, UDF & MCP. I didn’t vote even though I was a polling officer because am frustrated with these thieves such Peter, JB, Atupele etc & Malawians did vote for them because of their tribes but today everybody is suffering for poor choice.

JohnM
Guest
In my opinion, it was a mistake keeping an audit report a secret. Frankly speaking an audit report is just that an audit report. The reasons for keeping it a secret were not convincing. Everyone knows that an audit report raises a query. When someone is mentioned that a transaction is not properly accounted for, it is up to the individual mentioned to explain himself or to clear himself. Where he or she fails to explain himself then the Government can take the individual to court to recover the money. An Audit report is be all and end all. Tenthani… Read more »
Naganza
Guest
There is money in Malawi enough to develop the country healthy sector but all the money have gone in Mansions of greed people who don’t care about how their nation look like. Look at Malawi after 50 years after independence. They could not even cerebrate like Zambians did. What a shame. We all know people who could not afford anything some years ago but now they have built mansions without mortgage. Where in the whole world one can build a big house without a mortgage? These people have more than one house and many lands in the cities. How much… Read more »
Nyaulembe
Guest
Raphael Tenthani (RT in short). There’s nothing wrong to release the report. Every government is answerable to the voters and they’re not dull or gullible a population. They have capacity to read between lines and pick the truth out of the report. On the same note you write as if the AG is seing the report just now. The report to many isn’t new and ACB doesn’t depend on it to do their work. They are way ahead of that report which to me is a shallow report. To assume that they need that report to do their work is… Read more »
Mkuntha Mavenda
Guest

Who recommended Baker Tillfy? The British high commissioner after former PM Tony Blair said so. Kupatsana ntchito azungu. This work needed the likes of Price Waterhouse Coopers. There is political manoeuvring to get JB off the hook.

GhanaofAFRICA
Guest

Nonsense country! This malawi is just full of idiots…..you guys should come to GHANA and see how things should be done!
Proudly ghanaian! The most developed country in africa, and not foolish nigeria and stupid south africa

Zankutu
Guest

Perhaps not as idiotic enough as you Ghanaians who will always find a way of going one step forward and 3 steps back

Kalanga
Guest

Totally agree with the above! This report is like as if those who did the forensic r not learned. Though in draft, it was supposed to give clear direction and not two faced.

How can u publish the name of someone coz of girlfriend! U ve to know that relations ve secrecy hence u cant really know the nature of ur girlfriend until married!

As for me I doubt the credibility of this report!

M'doko
Guest

Ican see phada only. They are over looking us

Chilungamo Chimawawa
Guest

i agree with no 1 Mbanangwa, that the government will now dance heavily from the beats by private lawyers as they now have food on the table and that it will be easy to digest. furthermore Malawians are now interested to hear about K92 billion cash gate where Bingu, Peter and the rest of DPP cashgaters were vehemently involved……………

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