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ACB, DPP to seize K1 billion property from police officers

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Richard Chimwendo Banda

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions says it has obtained a preservation order against police officers who are said to have embezzled K1 billion from Area 30.

The officers are currently answering eight charges of conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent false accounting, theft by public servant, making false document, uttering false documents, forgery of stamps and money laundering.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steve Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steve Kayuni confirmed the development Friday.

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“There are a number of properties (vehicles and landed property) under the order of the honourable court. Persons concerned or their agents are prohibited from disposing or dealing with except in line with directions from the court. Movable properties may be seized and brought under control of DPP until subsequent confiscation or pecuniary penalty orders. The order affects 7 individuals who are police officers,” he said.

It is however yet to be seen if the officers will not contest the preservation order in court.

The development comes after Malawi News recently revealed about an audit investigation at Malawi Police Area 30 headquarters in Lilongwe which exposed a syndicate by police officers to steal tax payers’ money.

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According to the report, some police officers at Area 30 conspired to defraud government revenue where a total of K1 billion was looted through fraudulent false accounting, theft, forgery of stamps, uttering of false documents and money laundering between 2018 and June 2020.

This happened while the officers were working in different portfolios within the finance department at Area 30 from July 2018 to June 2020.

The audit report revealed that government revenue over K1 billion was paid by different clients, among them Central Medical Stores Trust, Omega Security Solutions as service charges upon hiring police officers from different police stations including headquarters, Police Mobile Forces Divisions A, B and D.

The audit report revealed that Area 30 headquarters was maintaining a police headquarters welfare bank account with mandate to keep money deducted from serving police officers.

It was observed that revenue cheques collected were being deposited into the welfare account instead of depositing into a suspense account of Home Affairs ministry account number one at any commercial bank of Malawi.

According to the report, officers involved in the looting include senior police officers such as commissioners. The men in uniform were using a welfare account for making dubious transactions to various service providers.

Minister of Home Affairs Richard Chimwendo Banda confirmed the development and said all the officers were suspended.

Kayuni also confirmed to Malawi News that his office had received the audit report and said that as per procedures within the directorate, processes were in motion to investigate the matter.

Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira whose organization is pushing for speedy conclusion of all cases involving looting of public funds said continued revelations of abuse of public funds are a result of rent seeking behaviour among public officers and constant refusal to walk the path on eradicating corruption, cronyism and nepotism in government.

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