“Cashgate”scandal jeopardizing Malawi’s future

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“Cashgate” scandal is jeopardizing Malawi’s future, as the country struggles to pay its bills following aid cuts and public anger over official corruption mounts.

Back in January, a senior Malawian civil servant and two executives have gone on trial over alleged corruption charges in the biggest financial scandal of the country.

The three officials, who are the first out of 68 defendants, appeared in court in the capital, Lilongwe to answer corruption charges in a case, known as “Cashgate”, involving the theft of millions of dollars of government funds.

The defendants, which include politicians, civil servants, and businessmen, have been charged with theft by public servant, fraud, money laundering and corruption.

Up to USD 100 million of state funds was allegedly stolen by using a central government computer payment system to transfer money to non-existent firms for fake services. The companies’ information was later deleted off the system.

So far, Malawian authorities have verified that over 20 million dollars were misused by infiltration into the payment system.

According to prosecutors, up to 30 percent of the impoverished country’s resources are stolen every year.

The Cashgate scandal has led to the suspension of USD 150 million in foreign aid pending further investigation.

The opening of the trial came a day after authorities arrested former Justice Minister Raphael Kasambara and Joster Njanji, a senior official in the cabinet and the presidential office, on money laundering charges related to the Cashgate scandal. The former justice minister denies any wrongdoing.

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