The immediate Past President Dr. Joyce Banda, founder of Opposition People’s Party (PP) has reacted to the recent attacks by President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, saying Mutharika’s blame game will not solve the challenges rocking the country at the moment.
Mutharika told the media recently in Lilongwe that his leadership is being punished for the wrongs committed by PP under President banda.
Mutharika cited the looting of Public funds at Capitol Hill which led to withholding of donor aid to the country and the selling of private Jet as some of the ills committed by Banda while in the high office and he asked for proper investigations.
Reacting to the attacks in a statement presented to Council on Foreign Relations, Banda urged Mutharika to stop playing a blame game.
Banda also reminded Mutharika her achievements while holding the high office, saying she was the first Head of State to take bold steps to fight corruption and staunch theft of public resources.
“President Mutharika failed to acknowledge that I am the first Head of State in Malawi to take bold steps to fight corruption and staunch theft of public resources. I publicly stated that there was a problem of theft and corruption since 2005 when the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) was installed and rallied everyone to jump on board to deal with it once and for all. I personally and aggressively led the fight against theft, fraud and corruption.
“When the European Union (EU) Head of Delegation, Alexander Baum, alerted me about loopholes in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), I announced on September 7, 2013 the introduction of measures to seal all IFMIS loopholes to root out theft, fraud and corruption. My government drew up a comprehensive work plan to deal with corruption and plunder of public resources. The plan was subject to regular review by a Cabinet Committee, which was headed by the Minister of Good Governance, Chris Daza,” reads the statement in part.
Turning to cashgate, Banda boosted that it was her leadership that called for an investigation to the looting of public funds dubbed cashgate.
“My government initiated a forensic audit into Cashgate. I shall forever be grateful to the British Government for its provision of resources to enable us to engage an internationally-renowned audit firm, Baker Tilly, to conduct the forensic audit. The Baker Tilly audit report was released on October 30, 2014. It included the names of the people involved in Cashgate. It is a public document
“In October 2013, when it became apparent that there was looting of public resources, I dissolved my cabinet and removed the ministers who were mentioned in relation to the looting. About 68 businessmen and civil servants were arrested in connection with Cashgate. Some 50 bank accounts connected to Cashgate were frozen,” said Banda.
She added: “The Cashgate trials and subsequent convictions taking place now are a result of the arrests that were made during my time as head of state and following the release of the Baker Tilly forensic audit report.”
Banda said Mutharika’s era has failed to come up with investigations to the MK577 billion believed to have been siphoned to during the first reign of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“President Mutharika’s government has ignored national and international calls to institute a forensic audit into an alleged 577 billion Kwacha Cashgate; that occurred between 2009 and 2012 before I came into office. Just like the British Government provided financial support for a forensic audit during my time, the German Government has committed money to facilitate a forensic audit by Price Waterhouse into this financial scandal. However, President Mutharika’s government has shown no interest to expedite the audit.
“Recently, robbers broke into a German envoy’s house in (city) where documents containing information about the 577 billion Kwacha forensic audit were stolen. In the midst of the outcries, a senior Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) official, Issa Njaunju, was brutally murdered in early July 2015. Since that time, no concrete investigations have been carried out,” said Banda.
She added: “His family, the diplomatic community and many Malawians are demanding justice as investigations seem to have stalled. The British High Commissioner recently led a team of ambassadors to meet officials of the ACB to demand an explanation of the apparent lack of interest to hunt down Mr. Njaunju’s killers.”