The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says it is taking seriously revelations that businessperson and Cashgate suspect Oswald Lutepo made on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) at the weekend.
In an interview with The Nation on Monday, ACB deputy director Reyneck Matemba said they have noted the allegations and will continue to do their own independent investigations to establish the truth behind Cashgate.
Lutepo alleged that he was used as a conduit in the massive plunder of government resources, but the principal beneficiary and architect of the syndicate was former president Joyce Banda.
Matemba said ACB is not targeting individuals or names, but continues to conduct its investigations in a professional manner and independent of the direction, interference or influence of any person or authority.
Said Matemba: “What we are interested in is to establish through investigations and evidence as to who took part in plundering government finances, how they plundered the finances and who benefitted from the plunder.
“Evidence is what really matters to us and it is only through that evidence that we will get to the individuals, wherever our investigations lead us to, we will knock on that door.”
In regard to Lutepo’s comments on the Baker Tilly audit report covering the six months period between April and September 2013, Matemba said: “What we at the ACB in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies are doing is to conduct criminal investigations. You will agree with me that a forensic audit is different from a criminal investigation, there might be overlaps here and there, but the ultimate aims of the two exercises are different.”
He said that is why, in the audit report, the auditors themselves made several recommendations for further investigations to be conducted by the ACB.
On their part, lawyers Justin Dzonzi and Danwood Chirwa have urged government to take Lutepos’ claims seriously, alleging he is the genesis of Cashgate and he might give important leads to investigations.
According to Dzonzi, the allegations made by Lutepo are enough to launch investigations against the former president, who has since shot down the claims.
“Cashgate is a big issue and what Lutepo said could lead somewhere, maybe to discovering who benefited,” he said.
Meanwhile, deputy director of corporate affairs for Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Steve Kapoloma, has confirmed that Lutepo has surrendered himself to police in the ongoing tax evasion saga.
Former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo and Colonel Nelson Kauwa-Banda of Malawi Defence Force were picked by police on Friday on tax evasion charges, but have been released on medical grounds.