By Staff Reporter 19/1/2018
Malawi’s graft-busting agency, Anti Corruption Bureau says it has failed to find any tangible evidence linking former President Joyce Banda to the systemic plunder of public money in 2013 dubbed Cashgate.
Cashgate involved some politicians, civil servants and business persons who used loopholes in government financial systems to pay themselves millions of dollars without providing any service.
Despite some quarters linking the massive looting to former President, the ACB says it has almost hit a bank wall to link her to the misdeed.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday in Malawi’s commercial capital of Blantyre, ACB director Reyneck Matemba said the bureau is almost done with all investigations but Banda’s name does not appear anywhere besides mere mentions by accused persons now convicts of Cashgate.
Convicts Oswald Lutepo and Leonard Kalonga in their cross examination only said that someone (former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo) told them of Banda’s involvement, a premise that legal experts brushed aside as no good evidence to implicate someone beyond reasonable doubt.
Surprisingly, all the accused who tried to implicate Joyce Banda only did so during cross examination in court not at the point of giving sworn affidavits to the State. This trend in a way justified what many Malawians thought that government was trying its best to find fault with JB by arm-twisting accused persons in exchange for leniency or lighter sentences.
The ACB director was quick to point out that the credible Baker Tilly audit that JB instituted in 2013 did not implicate her in Cashgate at all. But from the report ACB has been able to arrest and bring to court around 70 people.
Matemba has also promised Malawians that the ACB will do its work independently to ensure that justice prevails in an issue that has been of great attention for years.
Now that the Anti Corruption Bureau has finally admitted the impossibility of squeezing water out of a stone, Malawians will now want to see how the bureau proceeds with the larger plunder of almost ten times the 2013 Cashgate under Democratic Progressive Party leadership both under late Bingu wa Mutharika and his young brother incumbent Peter Mutharika.