Cashgate: Wheels of justice slow down in case against Malawian ministers

2016-08-08 16:58
Malawian president Peter Mutharika. (Thoko Chikondi, AP)

Malawian president Peter Mutharika. (Thoko Chikondi, AP)

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Lilongwe - Malawian prosecutors are bemoaning the slowdown in the prosecution rate of corrupt government officials since the appointment of Lucas Kondowe as Director General in 2014 by President Peter Mutharika, Nyasa Times reports.

Prosecutors and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) staff have raised concerns over what they feel is a lack of support from Mutharika and a slow down in ACB prosecutions to clamp down on corrupt government officials.

Prosecutors have recently narrowed in on more prominent names, but have in some cases hit a brick wall, with their political masters purposefully interfering in the investigations.

A major breakthrough in the prosecution of the Cashgate defendants was made with the conviction on July 21 of former justice minister Ralph Kasambara for conspiracy to murder, in what many saw as a victory for Malawian justice.

News24 reported that Malawian police arrested Kasambara in 2013 for the failed assassination attempt on Paul Mphwiyo, a corruption-busting treasury official, who was shot and wounded outside his house just as he was about to expose a government corruption ring.

Several public servants were arrested on suspicion of swindling the state of more than $20m, in what has been dubbed the Capital Hill 'cash-gate' scandal, named after the seat of government.

Mutharika came under increasing pressure to sack the seven senior cabinet ministers, after a contradictory statement from State House, saying that Mutharika was refusing to fire them. It is now believed that civil society leaders are organising a large-scale protest against this decision.

Political analysts claim that Mutharika's reluctance to criticise the cabinet ministers was due to his own brother, late President Bingu wa Mutharika, being implicated in the scandal.

So many corrupt officials remain free with delays in prosecutions, that the first person to be convicted, Treza Namathanga Senzani, is due to soon be released after serving her three-year sentence for fraud.

More than 40 suspects named in audits as probable fraudsters remain free.

Read more on:    peter mutharika  |  malawi  |  southern africa
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