Malawi's Vice President, Khumbo Kachale, has announced that the government is cracking down on corruption in the cabinet in the wake of what has become known as the "Cashgate" scandal, in which more than $10 million has been discovered to be missing from public coffers.
Speaking to parliament on Monday, Vice President Kachale said the investigations conducted so far have found massive looting of public finances dating back to 2006.
He said this was largely through loopholes in a central payment system that Malawi's government has used since 2005.
“The reviews made so far of the system have revealed that huge sums of money have indeed [been] siphoned out of government accounts, using private companies and individuals with no contracts with government for provision of goods, service or work,” said Kachale.
He also said that the government has engaged law enforcement agencies like the Auditor General, the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Malawi Police Service to arrest all the alleged perpetrators of the scams.
Meanwhile, he said, long- and short-term measures have been put in place to prevent further corruption, including forensic audits of all government departments and the reassignment of officials whose ministries are being investigated.
Kachale said the measures taken thus far have enabled the government to recover data that was deleted following the fraudulent transactions.
“The recovered data tell the person, amount and the beneficiaries involved in the facilitation of all these transactions. I am pleased to tell this august house that this information has been passed on to law enforcement agencies for further analysis and appropriate action,” continued Kachale.
He pointed out that the information has so far led to the arrest of eight people - six civil servants and two business persons - who have already been charged in court.
Earlier, the parliamentary leader of the opposition Progressive Democratic Party, George Chaponda, objected to the vice president addressing parliament on the scandal, citing reports that have implicated Kachale in the alleged corruption. The speaker of parliament overruled the objection.
Members of parliament are expected to respond on Tuesday to the vice president’s address.
They will also get a chance to ask Kachale about his alleged involvement in the scandal.