Malaw­ian pres­i­dent un­der fire over $330m graft scam

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

BLAN­TYRE — Malaw­ian Pres­i­dent Peter Mutharika is un­der fire from the op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers for shield­ing cab­i­net min­is­ters who have been im­pli­cated in a $330m cor­rup­tion scam.

But Mutharika has ve­he­mently re­jected the ac­cu­sa­tion, claim­ing he did not know names of the im­pli­cated min­is­ters.

Lead­ing the band­wagon of those call­ing for the sack­ing of the al­leged cor­rupt min­is­ters is op­po­si­tion law­maker Kam­lepo Kalua, who is vice chair­per­son of the Par­lia­men­tary Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee.

“The mat­ter is sim­ple. Some cor­rupt barons em­bez­zled $330m be­tween 2009 and 2014. A re­cent foren­sic au­dit shows among those im­pli­cated are seven cab­i­net min­is­ters. We want them fired,” Kalua told News24.

He said the for­eign foren­sic au­di­tors who con­ducted the au­dit sub­mit­ted the names and files of those im­pli­cated to the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau and Na­tional Au­dit Of­fice for ac­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Kalua, if Mutharika fails to ar­rest “the thieves in his cab­i­net”, he should re­sign as he is not in con­trol of the state af­fairs.

But Mutharika rub­bished Kalua’s claims, say­ing he could not sack his min­is­ters as he did not have the names.

Mutharika re­cently chal­lenged Kalua to name and shame the cor­rupt min­is­ters.

“This law­maker should bring the names at Ka­muzu Palace or he should shut up for­ever. I sent the Chief Sec­re­tary to the Au­di­tor Gen­eral to get the names and he came back say­ing there are no such names,” Mutharika said.

But Kalua hit back, charg­ing that Mutharika could get the names from Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau and Na­tional Au­dit Of­fice.

“The pres­i­dent is not be­ing hon­est…. It is a joke for the pres­i­dent to ex­press ig­no­rance on the names,” he said.

Kalua added: “Let him fol­low up with the au­di­tor gen­eral be­cause the au­di­tor gen­eral said he sub­mit­ted 13 files to the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau and out of those files, seven be­longed to cab­i­net min­is­ters.”

Out­go­ing Bri­tish High Com­mis­sioner to Malawi, Michael Nevin, also be­moaned the higher lev­els of cor­rup­tion in Malawi, ex­ac­er­bated by a cul­ture of im­punity.

He told a lo­cal pa­per that the coun­try’s rule of law could be per­ma­nently un­der­mined by fail­ure to bring to book those who break the law.

“The can­cer of cor­rup­tion is the most danger­ous el­e­ment that can un­der­mine Malawi’s in­sta­bil­ity,” Nevin said, ad­ding, “Cor­rup­tion, fraud are not suf­fi­ciently chal­lenged.”

Be­sides the cur­rent cor­rup­tion scan­dal, Malawi is yet to re­cover from an­other scam called Cash­gate, in which at least $32m of Malaw­ian state funds was stolen by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in just six months be­tween April and Oc­to­ber 2013.

Malawi is not the only African na­tion fac­ing the serious prob­lem of cor­rup­tion. In South Africa, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma re­cently faced pub­lic scru­tiny over the in­flated costs of se­cu­rity up­grades at his pri­vate home in Nkandla, KwaZu­luNatal.

South African tax­pay­ers footed a R246m bill for the up­grades and some res­i­den­tial up­keep that was un­war­ranted and de­serv­ing of rec­om­pense, ac­cord­ing to the pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s of­fice. — News24.

Pres­i­dent Peter Mutharika

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