The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is set to prosecute former and current senior executives of financially struggling AHL Group Limited, following investigations into alleged K45 billion fraud.
DPP Steven Kayuni confirmed in an interview yesterday that the directorate was reviewing criminal proceedings against the officials.
“Yes, I can confirm that we have the file on K45 billion fraud at AHL and we are working hand in hand with investigators and arresting officers for the few loose ends to be tied then we are in court shortly,” he said.
Sources said investigations are almost complete with a police case file submitted to the office of the DPP following lengthy investigations by the Fiscal and Fraud Department of police and a forensic audit investigation.
The sources added that investigations, uncovered how top management at AHL Group—formerly Auction Holdings Limited and whose majority shareholder is State owned Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc)—allegedly abused K45 billion funds, mostly through fraudulent activities.
They said the DPP has had the file for months, but asked investigators to tighten up loose ends before launching prosecution.
The development comes as the company is expected to lay off close to 500 of its 767 workers within two months ending August 31 and close down three subsidiary companies as part of a painful restructuring plan.
Coincidentally, one of AHL Group subsidiary companies, Malawi Leaf, also posted a K42 billion loss in 2017 widely seen as the genesis of the troubles.
AHL Group acting chief executive officer (CEO) Alfred Nkhono was appointed in November 2020 following a long stint by previous CEO Evans Matabwa.
On Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of Malawi officially sanctioned the AHL Group for non-remittance of pension funds totalling K3.3 billion and ordered the company, which is waiting for a government bailout, to pay the amount within 21 days.
The financial woes at the company has seen its 770 workers going months without pay.
AHL Group, which has seven subsidiaries—AHL Commodity Exchange, ICT Tech Africa Malawi Limited, AHL Chemicals and Steel, Malawi Leaf, ATC, AHL Tobacco Sales Ltd and TIL Limited—wants to close some of its companies as the new executive management and board attempt to resuscitate the company which technically is insolvency.