By staff writer 2/1/18
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on 25 December 2017 aired an interactive program called Focus on Africa’s End of the year quiz, tackling issues of corruption in Africa.
The program was chaired by presenter Veronique Edwards and co-hosted by Robin White,Patrick Smith,Violet Gonda and Donu Kogbara.
In a discussion set up,the program tackled most of the crucial events over the past year in Africa and beyond,and Malawi was featured highly as one of the most corrupt nation.
According to the BBC audio clip in our possession, Veronique Edwards and others pointed out that, “other than the Cashgate under President Joyce Banda which she inherited from previous regimes, far much more was siphoned both under Bingu wa Mutharika and his brother, Peter. But,Surprisingly, nothing is being done about the Cashgate that took place under the Mutharika brothers.”
The panelists then argued that Joyce Banda did her part well,because when the infamous Cashgate was discovered she quickly instituted an international Audit firm Baker Tilly which cleared her name, and there has been no any direct link for her to Cashgate.
A report from the Auditor General’s office established that Bingu wa Mutharika’s DPP swindled from public coffers an amount of $770 million (K577 billion) between 2005 and 2012 when he died.
After further queries the figure was adjusted downwards to around $350 million (K263 billion), still a huge figure to be wasted through corruption by the few individuals.
More worrying is that even the fight against corruption under Peter Mutharika’s rule is almost non-existent due to open negligence by the powers that be.
The young Mutharika’s priority is to first shield his brother’s regime by delaying persecution of those who were involved in that plunder. A report by audit experts Pricewatershouse Coopers found that a list of DPP individuals including 7 current cabinet ministers should be prosecuted by Anti Corruption Bureau.
The President has however made sure that he shields all wrongdoers. The report has since been shelved and Malawians might not hear anything about it for as long as DPP remains in power.
All the current DPP government does is gloat over court cases that were kickstarted during Joyce Banda’s rule.
Banda tackled corruption as it ought to be fought. Upon learning that some members of her Peoples Party were part of a syndicate involving business people and civil servants, she immediately fired those involved from government and the party, and instituted an inquiry.
Within weeks Baker Tilly Audit firm jetted into Malawi to dig to the bottom and expose all who stole around $17 million of public money.
72 people were arrested and court cases commenced. These are the cases that Mutharika uses to score own marks in corruption fight.
Despite failing to tackle the $350 million, Mutharika continues to shield his ministers, tribesmen and cronies as they continue to steal public money as it has been put by the BBC.
Those who put effort to expose DPP theft face danger. It’s almost two years now since a senior official at Anti Corruption Bureau, Issa Njaunju, was murdered and his body dumped in the fields just a few kilometres from State House.
To date, Njaunju’s death has not been solved due to Mutharika’s reluctance. Thanks to the UK government who have asked Scotland Yard to handle their own investigations.
For now Malawians continue to watch helplessly as their own government continues to be corrupt and shielding those who are supposed to be prosecuted.