17 April 2019

Malawi: High Court Sends 10 Convicts to Prison for 2011 Cashgate

The High Court in Lilongwe has sentenced 10 people convicted of stealing and sharing among themselves K201 million ($358,929) from the government in 2011 to between two and five years imprisonment.

League of cashgate convicts

The convicts were involved in the theft and money laundering of K201 million ($358,929) from the then Ministry of Elderly and Disability Affairs through the Accountant General's office.

Judge Charles Mkandawire convicted the 10 for offences of theft, money laundering, abuse of office and conspiracy to committing a felony.

The imprisoned convicts include Cornelius Kaphantengo who was director of Nova Technology and General Dealers and his wife Yvone, Chikondi Chimutu whose offence of theft involves K18.3 million of the K201 million, Deusdedit Tenthani who got a share of K16.2 million ($28,929), Tendai Nayeja whose share was K27.1 million ($48,393), Conrad Nambala whose looted K38.4 million, Squire Chakwana for theft of K10.7 million.

Others are Tapiwa Ng'oma K9.1 million ($16,250) , Emmanuel Yesaya for K27.4 million and Wides Machika Mbuliro K.5 million.

Initiatlly there were 14 people, among them Justina Nyirenda who charged with abuse of public office as she was a an accounts assistant in the Accountant General's office,

In 2013, the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo led to revelations of the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.

Former president Joyce Banda ordered an audit which British forensic auditor, Baker Tilly [now called RSM], undertook between April and September 2013 and established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.

In May 2015, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014. The K577 billion figure was later revised downwards to K236 billion in another forensic audit released in 2016.

Banda alleged that there must be a "stubborn link" between the K236 billion scam and Cashgate during a reign which she described as the late Bingu wa Mutharika's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) since she just completed it from 2012 to 2014.

PwC, which was hired by the German government to work with the National Audit Office (NAO) on the exercise, detailed all payments on the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) and matched bank statements against cashbook entries.

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