Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


'Cashgate' audit - Malawi president should resign

25 February 2014, 21:55

Blantyre - Malawi President Joyce Banda faced calls to resign on Tuesday, after an audit revealed at least $30m of state funds had been stolen by corrupt officials.

Barely three months before she asks voters to elect her for a second term, Banda faced calls from non-governmental groups to take responsibility for almost industrial-scale corruption on her watch.

A much-awaited report by British auditors - commissioned by Banda - showed that $30m was stolen in six months from April to September in 2013, her second year in office.

That equates to more than one percent of GDP, in a one of the world's poorest countries, where state services are poor and life expectancy is just 54 years.

"It is immoral and unethical for the president to remain in office," said John Kapito, the outspoken head of the Consumer Association of Malawi, decrying the lack of oversight.

The so-called "Cashgate" scandal has already rocked Malawi for months, causing a chain of events that enveloped politics, business and the economy.

The scandal implicated senior ministers, resulting in Banda sacking her entire cabinet.

Some 68 civil servants - including many in Banda's People's Party - and businesspeople are already on trial charged with graft.

Ex-justice minister Ralph Kasambara and four others face trial for the attempted murder of a treasury official who was on the verge of exposing the corruption ring.

Foreign donors, who provide 40% of Malawi's budget, froze vital aid worth around $150m in response.

- Blind justice -

In the end, auditors from Baker Tilly painted a damning picture of fraud and mismanagement that spanned a dozen ministries.

Their report alleged culprits used a central computerised payments system to pay supplies for goods and services that were never delivered.

The transactions - made to accounts abroad and in Malawi - were then deleted from the system.

The audit covered almost 370,000 transactions across 11 government bank accounts.

The report did not name culprits for fear of prejudicing on-going or future trials.

That decision was fiercely criticised by some watchdogs.

"We have been let down as the report lacks merit, substance," said Billy Banda, director of Malawi Watch, adding that questions remain about the president's involvement.

"Joyce Banda is a key suspect and there should have been an independent commission of inquiry to deal with this issue."

"She must actually step down because she is a key suspect and Cashgate happened during her watchful eye."

With Banda confident enough to leave the country on Tuesday -- attending a summit in Nigeria -- resignation seems unlikely.

But the fallout from the report is sure to be felt until election day on May 20.

"Cashgate will be the biggest election issue," according to University of Malawi political analyst Ernest Thindwa.

"It will have a significant impact on how people will judge Joyce Banda's People's Party, if she can trusted with the public pulse."

Banda herself admitted she took a "political risk" in launching a "fight against corruption" ahead of elections.

"The fight against corruption must come first, winning elections comes second to me," she said at a national prayer meeting in January.

It is a dramatic turnaround for the 63-year-old, who came to power with strong support from the international community after the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika.

Banda was feted by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and seen as closing the chapter on years of rule plagued by under-development.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...