Internal correspondence between the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director, Alex Nampota, and Bureau Secretary, Tokha Manyungwa, shows Nampota obtained financial advice to keep the money until the trip to London for a course materialised.

Nampota was arrested and released on bail on Thursday on allegations that he pocketed K1.5 million in allowances for a trip that did not take place.

But the ACB chief told the press yesterday the trip had not been cancelled but only postponed and he eventually attended the course in March this year using the money in question.

This position is also carried in the documents the media has obtained.

In October 2011, Nampota wrote a memorandum to the Bureau Secretary, copied to the Senior Accountant, among others, seeking “financial advice” whether to keep the allowances he had received earlier following the postponement of the trip to March 2012.

“I wish to advise that I have received a notification from the OPC [Office of President and Cabinet] that external travel ban has again been extended to the 31st of December, 2011. The school has indicated that they can relocate me to the next session that is in March 2012.

“I wish to bring to your attention that before the first freezing of external travel, I was paid the sum of approximately K1,597,440.00. I kept it in view of the fact that I was expected to leave in November this year.

“In view of the extension, I intend to pay back the above sums to the Bureau. Could I please have your financial advice as to whether this is an appropriate course of action to take?” reads the memo dated October 17, 2011 and signed by Nampota himself.

But in a response memo from the Bureau Secretary, Nampota was advised to keep the money until the March trip.

“I have discussed the matter with the Senior Accountant. We are of the view that you should still keep the money until the next session in March, 2012,” reads in part the memo from Manyungwa.

The Bureau Secretary says in the memo they base their financial advice on the following factors:

a) The course was not cancelled but rather postponed to a later date. Nampota would therefore use the same money in March.

b) The money was drawn from the 2010/11 financial year budget against a specific budget line. The bureau did not have this budget line in the current financial year yet as the activity was a one off event. If the money was brought on charge, it would go back to government account and could not be claimed again because of the absence of a budget line.

Manyungwa advised thus: “It is against this background that we suggest you keep the money until March 2012. The Senior Accountant will properly reflect this transaction in our books of accounts.

“If the training does not materialise by the end of this financial year, we will request you to pay back the money.”

Nampota, while refusing to comment on the documents in the possession of Malawi News, said yesterday he did finally travel to London for the course in March 2012 using that money.

When contacted yesterday for details of the case on which Nampota was arrested, Director of Criminal Investigations Department, Bob Mtekama, said he did not have details of the case as he had been out of the country.

“I don’t have the details. I just returned into the country two days ago and right now, I am in Mangochi attending to other assignments. So I don’t have details of the case. May be find out from the national police spokesperson,” he said.

National Police spokesperson, Davie Chingwalu, also said the police were not in a position to give more details of the case as investigations were still underway.

“The issues that we can give now are the ones that we have told you and you have already written about. We can’t go further than that because fiscal police are still investigating.

“What I can say though is that Mr Nampota is supposed to appear before police on July 9 and when the investigations have been completed, his file will be handed over to the Director of Public Prosecutions,” Chingwalu said.

In a story in The Daily Times yesterday, Nampota sounded outraged with the arrest and he called it witch-hunting.

“They [the government] wanted to remove me as Director without following proper Parliamentary procedures and I refused. I was sent home for one and a half months. What you should know is I remain Director of the bureau,” he said.

He added the arrest was also because the ACB was pursuing high profile corruption charges against some officials in the current administration.

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