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K236 billion Cashgate probe drags

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The slow pace at which the K236 billion Cashgate case is being investigated by the
National Audit Office (NAO) has been described by the Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) as a recipe for corruption.
Mejn Executive Director, Dalitso Kubalasa, said delays in such audits encourage corruption, adding that audits should not be conducted just for the sake of it but to produce tangible results.
“The first question should be why we are conducting the audit. Audits should not be done just to be seen working or to make people forget the thefts. The money which was allegedly stolen belongs to Malawians and the audit must be finalised so that people should know what happened to their money,” he said.
Kubalasa said it is painful that some of the money were loans which will be inherited by posterity.
He said if the report from NAO is released on time, it will help the country to recover the money.
Initially, the amount was pegged at K577 billion but the NAO’s initial report reduced the figure to K236 billion. Probe into the Cashgate earlier stalled when NAO claimed that it had money until the UK government released K500 million for the investigations.
Vice Chairperson of Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Kamlepo Kalua, drew the wrath of President Peter Mutharika when he insisted on several occasions that seven Cabinet ministers were involved in the looting of the funds.
NAO spokesperson, Rabson Kagwamminga, said they expected to finish the investigations by November last year but they missed the deadline because the work involved several offices.
“The investigations stalled last year because we did not have funds for the exercise. We only resumed in May when we got funds from DfID. We expected to
finalise everything by November last year but it did not happen because the exercise involved several offices including banks,” he said.

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