Late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s Wealth to be Probed

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Investigation into claims that the country’s former leader late Bingu wa Mutharika – brother to the incumbent Peter Mutharika – has cashgate proceeds about K61 billion ($85.3 million at current rate) stashed in offshore accounts has hit a snag after Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Malawi national assembly says it has no mandate to carry out the probe.

PAC chairperson Alekeni Menyani said his committee was not given the mandate to probe the matter but rather the issue was referred to the Business Commitee of Parliament where the leadership of all parties in parliament meet.

Menyani said the Business Committe was given the mandate by the House to handle the matter, saying it was a wrong assumption that his committee will carry out the probe.

Opposition Peoples Party (PP) legislators, led by Mzimba West MP Harry Mkandawire and Kamlepo Kalua from Rumphi East, led calls for investigations in late Mutharika’s estate alleging he ‘cashgated’ huge sums of money from the public coffers which he deliberately stached in offshore accounts.

According to forensic reorts, the looting of public funds started under Bingu wa Mutharika’s Democratic Progrssive Party (DPP) were of a different nature to the Cashgate type that was instituted during President Joyce Banda’s reign. Under Bingu they were of the more typical over-invoicing and over-pricing variety.

Preliminary audits of government finances between 2009 and 2014, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and financed by the German government, indicate that at least K577 bn. ($807 mn.) could not be accounted for.

Later, the estimated loss was reduced to K236 bn. ($330 mn.), still a gigantic figure for impoverished Malawi, about one third of the government’s annual budget.

By Green Muheya

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Source: Nyasa Times

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