Chimwendo, Usi accused of pocketing K8 million from Malawi Gaming Board

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Minister of Youth Richard Chimwendo Banda and Minister of Tourism Michael Usi are alleged to have pocketed K4 million each from Malawi Gaming Board (MGB) to influence the passing of a bill in Parliament.

The allegations are contained in a report which MGM Director of Finance, Administration and Human Resources Henry Bakuwa wrote to the Auditor General.

At MGB, K600 million is alleged to have been stolen through an account which senior managers under former MGB chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe allegedly opened without the knowledge of the board.

Bakuwa was one of the senior managers suspended over the issue and he was told to provide his representations over the allegations to the auditor general.

In his letter, which we have seen, Bakuwa said that the account was also being used by MGM under the current chief executive officer Rachel Mijiga.

According to Bakuwa, K16 million and K19 million cheques were cashed in August this year as part of total of K43 million paid to Members of Parliament to vote for the bill which merged MGB with National Lotteries Board to form  Malawi Gaming Board and Lotteries Authority (MAGLA)

Out of the amount, it is alleged that K8 million was given to Chimwendo and Usi.

“MK4 million was paid personally to Hon Chimwendo Banda (through a payment of MK2 million cashed from personal accounts of CS and CEO) and refunds for the same were sought from the Malawi Gaming Board Office,” reads in part.

Bakuwa added that MK4 million was given to Usi by Mijiga at Mount Soche Hotel and that Mijiga secretly recorded Usi receiving the cash.

Part of Bakuwa’s letter

“She collected this cash from cashier. This is an additional to sum of MK1, 300.000 which CEO demanded earlier from MK8,000.000.00 which was cashed from FDH Bank,” reads part of Bakuwa’s letter.

He added: “ I have details of other sums of money which were given to Hon. Members {and allegedly a sum of K4,000,000 given to another high-ranking politician].

Bakuwa also alleged that there are cases of mis-procurement at MGB, citing a case where a K9 million contract was awarded but the supplier claimed K32 million saying the contract was extended.

He also alleged that Mijiga obtained loans amounting K24 million within five months after being appointed and these loans were not approved by the MGM Board.

Minister Usi is yet to respond to the allegations but Minister Chimwendo Banda has denied pocketing money from MGB.

“I wish to categorically state that I did not receive any money from the mentioned officers, Malawi Gaming Board or at all.

“I was not involved in any of the alleged transactions or activities for which the money is said to have been sourced,” said Chimwendo Banda in a statement on Facebook.

Chimwendo Banda through his lawyers has since written Bakuwa  demanding K300 million compensation, saying Banda has been defamed by the allegations.

Meanwhile, MGB has today released a statement on the matter saying the Auditor General conducted investigations into the allegations and its findings did not substantiate the allegations made by Bakuwa.

“There were no irregular payments made to any minister, politician or public official as alleged therein at all,” reads part of the statement signed by management.

It adds that Bakuwa was scheduled for an internal hearing today but he tendered his resignation to the board a few days ago.

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