“As promised, release the official names in Cashgate report”
Forum for National Development (FND) has learnt with sadness that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Government has decided to negate its campaign promise of releasing the names of people involved in Cashgate and instead opting to play hide and seek on the same and how the “K92 billion kwacha Cashgate” has been trivialized
First we are appalled by the Government presentation to Parliament that the K92billion kwacha was a mere audit query. We wonder if any Government official in his right senses would trivialize such a huge amount as a mere query and nothing to worry about. As FND we believe that the whole Baker Tilly Cashgate has the roots and the genesis from the same K92 billion being trivialized.
We would like to remind Government and, indeed, Malawians, that since time immemorial, the National Audit Office has been presenting reports to parliament similar to the K92b report and Government has been acting upon them. We wonder what difference is with the K92 billion National audit interim Report
Government actions on Cashgate leave a lot to be desired. First, the Government failed to adequately respond to the report by the Public Account Committee of Parliament and chose to respond at a last minute of Parliament in order to avoid scrutiny by Members of Parliament.
Unlike the previous Government of the People’s Party, which had a clear action plan which was agreed upon by all, including the development partners, in dealing with Cashgate, the current Government abandoned the plan and has no clear direction on the same.
We are appealing to Government to release the names which are in the Baker Tilly report, to curtail false and inaccurate information that is emerging from the social media, to avoid victimization of innocent people. We believe it is the responsibility of the Government to provide accurate information on such matters. What we see is a desperate attempt to have some people being arrested through buying of public sympathy.
FND agrees with Hon. Alekeni Wodala Menyani, MP, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts, who said that negligence of the then DPP Government led to Cashgate and we quote
“…..The Committee believes that had it been that the report was given the necessary attention it deserved, the enormity of the Cash-Gate could have been greatly reduced. The laxity by the Secretary to the Treasury (ST) to promptly act on the report played a bigger role in paving way to the Cash-Gate we are all complaining about. But a million dollar question is: why was the report not presented to the Public Accounts Committee after its production? What was there to hide?” end quote
FND asks the same question today. What is there to hide when the Government doesn’t want to act and investigate the findings of the interim audit report dubbed K92 billion Cashgate? We believe this is tax payers’ money too, and Malawians deserve to know what happened to their purse.
We need not to remind the Government that when you do an analysis of the companies in the Baker Tilly report, one will note that most companies implicated are also featuring on the K92 billion, and as FND has been saying, in order to root out this practice, we need to deal with all these cases conclusively.
The Government should not hide behind the Baker Tilly report to hide the past corruption and theft of public resources. Malawians ought to be reminded that the forensic audit was the first of its kind and summoned by the previous Government while, all along our Parliament has acted on similar reports like the Interim Audit Report on IFMIS
FND would like to agree with sentiments said by President Arthur Peter Mutharika recently when he addressed Malawians residing in the United States of America. The President ably put, that no person who has stolen from the Government should walk scot free
The level of seriousness to address these will be realized only if;
- The Government treats the K92 billion Cashgate as money that should worry Malawians as well and institute full investigation without fear or favour.
- The Government lives up to its campaign promise and release the names in the Baker Tilly report.
- The Government pursues all the people that were involved in the Malawi Housing Scam in 2010 and also the Lilongwe City Council houses which the National Audit Office said were either acquired corruptly or fraudulently and under the market value and recommended the houses be repossessed
We strongly believe that President Mutharika and the Government would be trusted in the fight against corruption if they start acting on the above three issues.
Furthermore, failure to release the names will confirm the fears that Malawians had, that all along some members within the Government have been involved in the Cashgate and are afraid to be exposed.
We would also like to repeat what we have been saying time and again that, in order for us to root out corruption and deal with people that mismanaged the resources of Malawians, we need to leave politics aside and deal with this as a national issue.
Bright Kampaundi Fryson Chodzi
CHAIRPERSON NATIONAL COORDINATOR