19 January 2018

Malawi Anti-Graft Bureau Say 'No Evidence' of Joyce Banda Cashgate Involvement

Photo: Katie C. Lin/IPS
Former president Joyce Banda.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director Reyneck Matemba has said the graft-busting bureau has no objective evidence on Malawi's former president Joyce Banda linking her to Cashgate, the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill, exposed under her watch in 2013.

While president, Banda ordered an independent audit of the corruption revelations, which was conducted by British firm RSM (formerly Baker Tilly). The findings were released in 2014.

Matemba told journalists in Blantyre on Thursday that the British firm never linked Banda to any corruption.

He said even their investigations has no concrete evidence on Banda, saying all the bureau has were testimonies that were recorded from Cashgate convicts - Oswald Lutepo, Leonard Kalonga and the late Treaser Senzani.

But there's no substance to the statements.

Asked to explain what Police said that authorities had obtained an arrest warrant for Banda, the ACB Czar said Fiscal Department of Malawi Police have been doing their own investigation on financial crimes.

"They are also doing their investigations," he said.

Last year James Kadadzera, a police public relations officer, said authorities had obtained an arrest warrant for Banda.

"The evidence gathered raises reasonable suspicion that the former president committed offences relating to abuse of office and money laundering," he said in a statement.

But Banda has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Through her spokesperson Andekuche Chanthunya, Banda said yesterday the issue has been repeatedly spoken about and that she has made it clear that she played no role; hence, cannot say much.

He said: "We have always maintained that Dr Joyce Banda knows nothing about Cashgate and she doesn't really have anything to say about it."

Banda, who was Malawi's president for two years from 2012, said that prior to Cashgate, the K577 billion theft happened between 2009 and 2012 when former president the late Bingu Wa Mutharika was in charge, alleging that there must be a stubborn link between the K577 billion scam and Cashgate.

She left the country when she lost in an election to Peter Mutharika and has not returned since 2014.

Banda has been living in the United States, serving as a distinguished fellow at Woodrow Wilson Center and the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC.

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