Former Malawi Budget Director, Paul Mphwiyo, has implicated Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Mwanamvekha, in another cashgate scandal that saw $30 million (about MK22 Billion) meant for the procurement of weapons for peacekeeping missions vanish into thin air, an independent investigation has revealed.
A report by Center for Investigative Journalism Malawi (CIJM) claims that Mphwiyo fingered out Mwanamvekha, whon has been moved from Trade to Agriculture ministry by President without a proper explanation.
In warn and caution statements to the Malawi Police Service, Mphwiyo is said to have named Mwanamvekha as the person who masterminded the looting of $30 million that the United Nations refunded to the Malawi government for money used to procure weapons for peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Mphwiyo, an account was opened at the then Malawi Savings Bank now FDH Bank where the United Nations allegedly made the refund.
However, the money can no longer be traced, and only Mwanamvekha knows where this money went, Mphwiyo has been quoted as saying by CIJM.
Mwanamvekha ignored several calls when CIJM wanted to get his side of the story. However, an investigative by the Center shows that there is no record that Mwanamvekha was never questioned by the Malawi Police or the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to explain where the cash went.
Neither the Malawi Police Service nor the graft-busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau has probed the mystery surrounding the $30 million refund from the United Nations. CIJM’s inquiries to both MPS and ACB have hit a wall as officers from these two government agencies promised to come back with answers but never did.
According to the Center, Mphwiyo also reaffirms his conviction that former Justice Minister and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara was the mastermind of the plot to murder him despite his recent claims that he was forced to implicated the disgraced Justice Minister.
“But in the same statement, the former Budget Director says that Ralph Kasambara was pushing for billions of kwacha in payments to some companies, although owners of those companies were not pushing for the monies themselves” reports CIBM.
It is said Mphwiyo mentioned Delco Terrastone, which had been contracted to build Malawi Parliament which Malawi’s former diplomatic friend Taiwan had pledged to fund. However, when Malawi switched diplomatic ties to mainland China, the Chinese brought their own people who constructed the new Parliament.
“Mphwiyo said government paid compensation in full, though he did not specify the amount. Regardless, Kasambara was pushing Mphwiyo to pay an additional MK9 billion Delco Terrastone” adds CIJM.
The Delco case was a default judgment which the Attorney-General’s office, then headed by Kasambara, did not contest.
Cashgate is a financial scandal involving looting of public funds. It is believed that over half a trillion of public funds were stolen from the Capital Hill between 2009 and 2013.