Two Cashgate suspects fails to pay back K90 million they stole: Court sets May 7 for their prosecution

Two Cashgate suspects fails to pay back K90 million they stole: Court sets May 7 for their prosecution
Two Cashgate suspects fails to pay back K90 million they stole: Court sets May 7 for their prosecution

Africa-Press – Malawi. Chief State Advocate Dzikondianthu Malunda, has asked the High Court in to proceed with prosecution of two Cashgate suspects Laura and Rex Savala after failing to restitute part of the stolen money as demanded in the negotiations.

Malunda says the State entered into negotiations with the two suspects to pay back about K90 million to government after the 2013 infamous financial scandal that hit Capital Hill, but only K2 million was paid.

“This is an old case, the 2013 Cashgate. We had been in discussions with the defence that yielded nothing. So today, we basically informed the court that discussions have not yielded any fruits and we need new dates for hearing to proceed in earnest,” says Malunda.

In 2013, an audit report by British Forensic Auditors, Baker Tilly exposed massive plunder of public resources in the country.

Since its exposure, the State has secured a number of convictions including businesspersons and civil servants, with others out of jail after serving their jail terms.

High Court Judge Annabel Mtalimanja has since set May 7 and 8 to continue hearing the case.

By last year, five people, namely Kettie Kamwangala, Fatch Chungano, Cecilia Ng’ambi, Sympathy Chisale and Ndaona Satema were freed after paying back the money, according to official documents sourced from the Ministry of Justice.

By November 2015, there were 124 Cashgate cases before the special Cashgate prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu, the DPP and the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the main prosecuting agencies.

In November 2020, there were 94 suspects out of which 40 were convicted and trials for 19 suspects were close to finalisation, representing a near completion rate of 64 percent.

Out of the 40 convictions, ACB alongside Nyasulu secured 22 and no acquittal.

The suspects investigated and convicted included 36 public officers from 10 government ministries, departments and agencies as well as 122 private sector companies, including three legal firms.

Cashgate was exposed on September 13 2013 following the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphiyo, now a fugitive, outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe.

Former president Joyce Banda ordered a forensic audit undertaken by British firm, Baker Tilly, covering the period between April and September 2013. The audit established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.

In May 2015, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014. However, the figure was later revised downwards to K236 billion by another British forensic auditor.

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