We’ll dig deeper for evidence, says ACB czar

Financial crimes expert Lucas Kondowe who was recently appointed by President Peter Mutharika as Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has said the graft-busting body will dip for objective material evidence to be used for prosecution in the cashgate trials, saying the external forensic audit will be complimentary.

Kondowe: We will follow evidence

Kondowe: We will follow evidence

Kondowe said on Friday that the bureau will dig on incriminating evidence and not rely much on the audit report by London-based Baker Tilly Ltd.. saying there is huge amount of information to look into.

“The audit report will just be part of the input,” said Kondowe.

Asked on local radio if ACB will arrest people based on names revealed in the cashgate report, Kondowe said: “The names can be in the report but to us that means nothing, we will follow the evidence.”

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu released the comprehensive report to the media on Thursday.

The report contains a list of 49 individuals who between them had a hand in siphoning almost K24.2 billion of public funds.

Tembenu hinted that investigations into ‘cashgate’ were still on-going and several other suspects may come out in due course.

The Baker Tilly report describes the scale of the theft and how it operated. Drawing on a sample of 501 suspicious transactions between April and September, the auditors found that a total 104 government of Malawi cheques, totalling K 6.9 billion were paid to 39 different companies when they had not supplied any services to government the majority of which were deleted from the system.

Payments with no further documents accounted for a further 4 billion kwacha. The bean-counters also found that supply contracts had been inflated by 3.6 billion kwacha. All told, the state was defrauded of around $32m, almost 1% of Malawi’s annual GDP, in just six months.

A central element to the fraud was the manipulation of a government software system that was supposed to help control spending. In a typical cashgate transaction, the accounts of the tourism ministry or the cabinet office were hacked into.

The hackers found a budget allocation, say for paper clips, and generated bogus payment orders until the allowance was exhausted. A cheque was then raised and paid into the bank account of a dormant company used solely for money laundering. Money was cashed and the transaction was then erased from the accounts so the fraud could be repeated.

No one checked whether any goods had been delivered. Baker Tilly found that basic filing was not applied. Cheques were left in printers overnight and made out in corridors rather than secure offices.

Payment orders for large sums were honoured by the central bank even if they had only two of the three required signatures. In one instance high-value cheques with consecutive serial numbers for exact sums were cashed on the same day. The theft went unchecked in part because a reconciliation of bank payments by the accountant-general’s office had not been made for over a year.

Speaking during the news conference to release the report, Tembenu who was flanked by Minister of Information Kondwani Nankhumwa and deputy Auditor General Langton Gomani, stressed that the report was not an indictment of anybody but investigations into how government lost billions.

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Atcheya
Guest

I agree with number 22, Zobanduka. Really how will he deal with his former employer as regards the cases at hand? It complicates the case further as it will involve him answer some questions related to financial questions as, he, himself was part of risk control of the bank. You are confusing me!

KUKHALA
Guest

BWANA AG HOPE YOU WANA FOLLOW THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES : INTERGRITY,OBJECTIVEY, PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE & DUE CARE, PROFESSIONAL BEHIOUR & CONFIDENTIALITY. MIND YOU SHOULD YOU NOT THEN OOOOH RISKING YOUR REPUTATION. ONE OF MAY NO MORE FUTURE JOBS OPPORTUNITIES LOCALLY & EVEN ABROAD,

Quota system
Guest

The only problem with these state instruments like ACB is politicization of cases. The ruling class loot with impunity. Only the poor face the music.

Zobanduka
Guest

The bank that you are coming from (FMB) was a safe heaven for cashgaters to keep their loot in all sorts of currencies by providing them with private deposit boxes…… What are you going to do about it since you were there as well and you were aware of this happening at FMB???? Huh????

Zagwa
Guest

Bwana DG, I have hope that you are capable. Please add an incentive to your “tip-offs anonymous” line as is the case with MRA. Citizens see and know a lot of wrong-doing but the motivation to report is not always there.

Gogo Pitala
Guest

Who from the government side authorized such huge payments? Who were the authorizing personnel?

M'doko
Guest

What about 92billion kwacha names

Papa Chalo
Guest
Mmmmmh, My fellow Malawians tivomeleze kuti we are still sleepy. Laws, Courts, Police and ACB are for Management the poor and common/voiceless people. Haven’t we seen people being above the law? Haven’t we seen an individual involved in CashGate yet allowed to contest for MP? Haven’ we seen fire damaging property and the authorities forming inquiry committees to blind folder poor Malawians? Can’t we see the zero Aid budget being cushioned (make it comfortable) by this race which is on campaign winning African countries? Tionanso ikudzakhala a super power in the world. Don’t we know ACB is the most corrup… Read more »
big thought
Guest

It is indeed important to dig deeper so that the source of theft should be known.The report will also be compared to that of Baker Tilly to see if indeed some important names have been left out knowingly which the general public is interested to know who took and ate their tax money.

drogba
Guest

Be committed, bring this mone back! Spare nobody, and do not fear or spare the big guys! By the way, what about the 1.4 bilion from Bakili?
With our deficit budget,we need it all desperate! my only worry is: That your office will be as useless it was, influenced by politics.., resulting in another …-gate were money is going down the drain? !

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