Malawi: Pressure Mounts On President to Fire 7 Cashgate Ministers

By Owen Khamula

 President Peter Mutharika inspects guard of honour (file photo). Photo: Nyasa Times

President Peter Mutharika inspects guard of honour (file photo). Photo: Nyasa Times

Calls are resonating on Kamuzu Palace walls for President Peter Mutharika to fire the seven senior cabinet ministers involved in the K577 billion cashgate.

This foillows a vague and contradictory statement State House issued on Saturday defiantly saying Mutharika will not fire the seven cabinet ministers.

Sources in the civil society say civil society leaders are secretly meeting in Lilongwe to organise a large scale protest match in the capital similar to that of July 20, 2012.

Our sources said there is a possibility similar matches would be held in Blantyre and Mzuzu.

“We want to show the President and the cabinet ministers that the voice of the people is more powerful than the power they weild. We want to show them that the money stolen is ours and must be returned to the government,” he said.

He said Mutharika must not compromise his position as Head of State just because his brother, late president Bingu wa Mutharika is implicated in the cashgate.

It is most likely the opposition Malawi Congress Party and Peoples Party will support the deonstrations.

In his stateement on Saturday, Mutharika says he highly appreciates the need to know the individuals, organisations or companies whose names have allegedly been mentioned in the misappropriation of the public money queried in the 2009 to 2014 forensic audit report.

“The President too is anxiously waiting for the names of such individuals and organisations so that necessary investigations and corrective measures can be taken,” says the statement in part.

However, Mutharika says in the statement that he is concerned that while everyone is waiting for the auditor general and other responsible state institutions to procedurally process and prepare the contents of the audit report for the public dissemination and subsquent investigative process, some individuals and media houses have chosen to hijack the audit reporting process so as to misinform Malawians on issues surrounding the audit.

The President says it is in public domain that the auditor general has revised downwards the audit query amount from K577 billion to K236 billion.

Mutharika therefore calls on the media to report the revised figure as opposed to clinging to the K577 billion figure thereby bringing unnecessary sensationalism.

The President said he cannot fire anyone because he has not received any name in connection with the audit query following a legal opinion given by the Attorney General.

“Consequently, in the absence of this information from the auditor general, the issue of names of seven cabinet ministers allegedly being implicated in the audit does not arise. It is therefore, pure misinformation and lack of sincerity for some individuals and media houses to be accusing the president of not acting on some ministers allegedly implicated in the K236 billion forensic audit when information on the individuals is not available,” says the State House statement.

The statement says the President should not be expected to make policy decisions based on rumours and speculation.

Vice chair of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee Kamlepo Kalua dismissed the State House statement as lies, saying the auditor general provided the names to both the committee and Anti Corruption Bureau.

He said after all, the auditor general gave 13 files to the ACB containing the names of the cabinet ministers and companies raised in the audit query.

Social media is awash with the names that include Mutharika’s strong man, Agriculture minister George Chaponda, Mutharika’s right handman, Finance minister Goodall Gondwe and Mutharika’s inner circle of Labour minister Henry Mussa as being amongst the seven.


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