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Pac gives AG two weeks ultimatum

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The Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament has given Auditor General (AG), Stephenson Kamphasa, two weeks to present to the office of Speaker of Parliament the 13 case files in relation to what is commonly known as the K577 billion Cashgate.

It was initially believed that a preliminary probe into the theft of public funds which apparently largely concerns the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime found that K577 billion could not be accounted for.

However, according to Kamphasa, a reconstruction of the government cashbook found that it was only K236 billion which could not be reconciled. He went ahead to argue that the amount could be reduced further.

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But even when it had been made public that 13 case files had been submitted to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for thorough investigations, Kamphasa refused to make public the names of the people implicated in the case files, citing a legal opinion that blocked the move.

And Pac believes that from the time the issue came, which is over six months ago, up to now, Kamphasa has not shown enough commitment to ensure the names of the suspects are known to Malawians.

Some people believe some cabinet ministers are among those whose case files are with the ACB.

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In an interview yesterday, Pac Chairperson, Alekeni Menyani, argued that Kamphasa’s alleged legal opinion which was provided by the Attorney General seems to have just been a ploy aimed at suppressing the matter so that it should not be pursed further.

“At the time when the general public had demanded for the names of the suspects in the case files to be released, the Attorney General rushed with a legal opinion that it was not proper to do so. He said we should wait for investigations that were already at an advanced stage at that time.

“We were all patient because we thought perhaps everyone was doing their job, but since then, we have not heard much, a thing which is becoming suspicious. It appears they were just trying to frustrate us from pursuing the case further,” said Menyani.

He argued that Kamphasa and his team are not coming out to say how far they have gone with the investigation which had apparently been at an advanced stage months ago.

“It appears there are some institutions whose job is to frustrate our efforts to follow how government resources are being used. That’s why I am giving the Auditor General 14 days to surrender the names to the Office of the Speaker,” said Menyani.

Kamphasa and other officials at the National Audit Office were not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

However, the AG is on record as having dismissed claims that some cabinet ministers serving the current DPP administration were implicated in the financial scandal which critics say is not being given adequate attention by the current administration.

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