Three civil servants arrested in K20m theft

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) continues on its crackdown on Capital Hill cashleak with the arrests of three civil servants involved in the ill-reputed looting of public funds at amounting to over K20 million.

ACB Senior Public Relations Officer, Egrita Ndala in a statement  made available to Nyasa Times said the anti-graft body busted on the three, working in three ministries, last week following investigations on various payments made by the ministries.

The graft-busting body arrested Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development Accounts Assistant, Joyce Mkandawire for collecting a cheque worth K4, 225,092.29 in the name of Green Rose Investments and gave it to Richard Kapinga as well as issuing cheques worth K4, 245,813.67 and K5, 527,624.29 payable to RA & AJ Inter Trading owned by Richard Kapinga.

Egritta Ndala: ACB  arrested the three suspects
Egritta Ndala: ACB arrested the three suspects

It also arrested Patricia Chatuwa Accounts Assistant in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and urban Development who is said to have prepared payment voucher of K 5, 260,854.11 payable to Hannet Enterprises owned by Hunter Kavina.

Third suspect is Zainab Swaleyi then working at the Pensions Department but now an Account Assistant at Health Services Commission. “Zainab Swaleyi prepared a payment voucher amounting to K2, 890,315.00 payable to Hannet Enterprises owned by Hunter Kavina. All the mentioned companies did not supply goods and services to Malawi Government,” Ndala said.

The three are expected to be charged with abuse of office and aiding and abetting corrupt practice contrary to Section 25 B (1) and 35 of the Corrupt Practices Act respectively.

Ndala said the bureau managed to arrest the three following a complaint it received on October 5th, 2011 alleging that public servants were making huge payments to companies owned by themselves or their colleagues for services not offered to Malawi Government.

“The Anti-Corruption Bureau instituted investigations into the matter. It was established that payments were being made to companies of public officers without offering Government any service,” she added. The forensic audit report indicates that government lost about K13 billion (about $32.5m) in public funds, including K3.7 billion (about $9.2m) siphoned from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture alone between April and September 2013.

Of the K6 billion cash siphoned through ‘cashgate’ means, K3.7 billion was stolen through the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture that was linked with the purchase of the disowned ‘cashgate’ buses; K2.1 billion (about $5.2m) from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC); K151 million (about $377 500) from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; and K81 million (about $202 500) from a government department that is not known.

An examination of the companies involved found that some were established as early as May 2013, apparently with the sole purpose of siphoning money from government coffers.

However the report did not reveal names of people and institutions involved for fear of possible prosecutions.

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