The clergy in the country say they are ready to surrender any property that is linked to cashgate if there can be enough evidence that some members of their religions used it to help churches or mosques.
The clergy, who admitted the difficulty of drawing a line between cashgate and clean money donations, were reacting to Minister of Justice Fahad Assani’s remarks that he is aware of some denominations that benefited from cashgate.
Assani told Zodiak Broadcasting Station last Sunday that he is aware of some churches and other religious groups that benefited from Capital Hill looting.
Assani said: “Political parties may have benefited from the cashgate. But we should also know that churches also benefited from the scam because the suspects were helping their churches using cashgate money. I am aware of some churches that have benefited from cashgate.”
Speaking in separate interviews with Weekend Nation, chairperson of Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), Sheikh Idrisa Muhammad, and general secretary of Malawi Council of Churches, Reverend Osborne Joda-Mbewe, said Assan’s claim could be true.
Said Joda-Mbewe: “Our church members are also officials in different offices in government and other institutions where they might be involved in the malpractice called cashgate.
“Of course such people make donations to their churches but one thing everyone should know is that the church does not ask the member to explain the source of his or her funds.”
Muhammad concurred with Joda-Mbewe saying he cannot rule out possibility of accommodating cashgate beneficiaries in the mosque saying: “We can have people who are connected to cashgate, but frankly speaking our religion, especially in Malawi, does not prioritise giving money or any donation to the mosque like it is the case with other denominations.”
Muhammad said Islam in Malawi relies on foreign donations; hence, the slim likelihood that religion benefitted from the stolen money.
Both Muhammad and Joda-Mbewe said the clergy is ready to assist in the ongoing investigation if there can be enough evidence that their members are involved in cashgate.
“We cannot hide such members because God does not tolerate corruption. Once we are convinced that particular church members are guilty of cashagate, we will surrender the property they donated to church. Furthermore, we will pray for them and assist in investigations accordingly,” said Joda-Mbewe.