…Mphwiyo named as ‘architect’
Malawi’s former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo was the one who enticed other civil servants and businesspersons to be involved in the plunder of resources in the era of Joyce Banda whose People’s Party (PP) has been named as the greatest earner of the looting, a state witness says.
The witness, cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga, madethe revelations at the High Court in Lilongwe in a case in which Mphwiyo and 17 others are answering seven cashgate related charges. Kalonga told the court that the PP got up to 60 percent of the benefits from the proceeds.
The scandal saw up to K2.4 billion being stolen through various unscrupulous deals. Kalonga, who was director of tourism in the Ministry of Tourism, said he knew some of the accused persons personally as friends before the cashgate issue and he came to know others due to the cashgate scheme.
According to Kalonga, he had known one Mr Makina at the Tourism Ministry and it is through him that he came to know Mphwiyo.
‘’In April 2013, he (Makina) was in diplomatic posting going to Harare, so I escorted him to the airport and while chatting there, I had admired him for being given a diplomatic post. It was at this time that he told me he would connect me.”
“He said he could introduce me to the people who matter in government for me to excel in my career as well as if I wanted to cherish the dreams of being posted to diplomatic mission,’’ said Kalonga.
The two later met Mphwiyo at Total filling station near Ufulu Gardens lodge.
According Kalonga, Mphwiyo was driving a latest SUV Mercedes Benz.
He also told the court that the PP government was benefiting from the deals that 18 civil servants and contractors were involved in.
These deals saw government being accused of getting up to K2.4 billion through theft and money laundering.
It was widely believed that Mphwiyo’s shooting was linked to a fallout among corrupt officials who were exploiting loopholes in former President Joyce Banda’s government’s accounting system to siphon vast sums of public money in a syndicate popularly known cashgate.
Subsequent days led to a lot of civil servants being found with huge sums of money lacking proper documentation on how they got the money.
The scandal started when an accounts assistant in the Ministry of Environment, Victor Sithole, was found with huge amounts of money inconsistence with his monthly income.
This was later compounded with the shooting of Mphwiyo on September 13, 2013.