Corruption case: Ex-Malawi leader denies any wrongdoing

Joyce Banda of Malawi (File: AFP)
Joyce Banda of Malawi (File: AFP)

Lilongwe - Malawi's former president denied on Tuesday any wrongdoing in a corruption scandal that erupted when she was in office, saying she will return to the southern African nation to prove her innocence.

Joyce Banda is wanted for arrest over alleged abuse of office and money-laundering offences, police said on Monday.

More than 70 entrepreneurs, officials and civil servants have been charged in connection with the embezzlement of what is thought to amount to hundreds of millions of dollars from state coffers between 2009 and 2013.

Banda, who was Malawi's president for two years from 2012, left the country when she lost in an election to Peter Mutharika. She 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.

READ MORE: 'Cashgate' trial begins in Malawi

"I will be coming back because I never did anything wrong and I am innocent," Banda told Reuters news agency in a telephone interview from South Africa, where she had arrived from the US.

"I am the only president who got to the bottom of corruption and instituted the first-ever commission of inquiry into corruption," she added.

She was expected to proceed to Malawi after carrying out some charity work in South Africa.

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.

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

"Baker Tilly never linked me to any corruption and the rest is what everyone knows, that even some of my cabinet members were arrested. I never shielded anyone who was found to have been part of this," she said.

A former justice minister and attorney general was convicted over "cashgate", as the scandal came to be known, and is in jail, along with a number of former high-ranking government officials and business persons.

The corruption scandal led to international donors halting aid to Malawi.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When planning for the Black Friday sales do you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Save, research and plan ahead, preparing to make the most of it?
8% - 848 votes
Wait and see what looks like a good deal on the day?
14% - 1605 votes
Have no interest in spending more money this year?
78% - 8704 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.43
(-0.02)
ZAR/GBP
20.51
(+0.03)
ZAR/EUR
18.25
(+0.28)
ZAR/AUD
11.22
(+0.51)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.53)
Gold
1837.30
(-1.79)
Silver
23.50
(-2.73)
Platinum
921.00
(-2.28)
Brent Crude
45.18
(0.00)
Palladium
2338.48
(+1.23)
All Share
57147.31
(+0.94)
Top 40
52478.55
(+1.08)
Financial 15
11337.90
(+0.62)
Industrial 25
79917.53
(+1.49)
Resource 10
51771.17
(+0.65)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo