An investigation has revealed that Ngalande used two young men and a woman in Blantyre to access the second tranche of Yedef loans whose beneficiaries were published in the press in October last year.
He used Brian Kaunda; a student at Malawi College of Accountancy (MCA); Doris Mangazi, another accountancy student in Blantyre and Pilirani Lita who was also a student at the time of getting the loans.
Former deputy minister Billy Kaunda, whose son is among the students, confirmed he was aware that Ngalande used Brian to access Yedef funds but refused to give further details, saying the issue is being addressed at family level.
â€œI am aware that my son, Brian, was used by Ngalande to access Yedef loans. We are working to resolve that issue within the family,â€ said Kaunda. According to him, Ngalande is Brianâ€™s step father.
As per the published list of beneficiaries, Malawi Rural Development Fund (Mardef), which administers Yedef loans, granted K500 000 loan to Brian and another K900 000 to Lita to start general trading and produce selling businesses, respectively.
Mardef also gave Mangazi K450 000 loan to run general trading business.
In an interview, Mangazi confirmed giving all her K450 000 Yedef loan to Ngalande who she said is her uncle.
She also confirmed Lita gave his K900 000 to him to contribute towards the purchase of two trucks, contrary to the business proposals the youth submitted to government as Yedef officials said general trading businesses involve buying and selling of commodities such as clothes.
â€œI gave the money to my uncle, Lewis Ngalande, who is running the business. He bought two trucks which [were] carrying governmentâ€™s subsidised fertiliser. The trucks are registered in his name.
â€œHe is the one who is managing everything,â€ said Mangazi.
The student said she does not know how much the business is generating because she is not involved in its operations as she is busy with school.
Asked whether they are ready to start repaying the loans, considering that Yedef loans have about three months grace period and that the loans were obtained in their names, she said: â€œI donâ€™t know. I need to first hear from my uncle [Ngalande].â€
Ngalande when contacted said he does not handle Yedef loans on behalf of government.
â€œWhy are you asking me? I am not the one who handles Yedef loans. It is the committees which do that. What do you want me to say?â€ said Ngalande and hanged up his phone when asked why he used the students to access the funds.
Mandindi said government will investigate the matter. He also said Ngalande is supposed to refund the money to the three youths.
â€œEven those youths do not deserve to get the loans because you canâ€™t get the loan and give it to another person. Itâ€™s better we should give that money to youths in other constituencies,â€ said Mandindi.
He also said according to Yedef rules, students do not qualify for the loans.
â€œThese loans are for those who have never gone to school or are out of school. It is all wrong to do that,â€ said Mandindi.
Asked why it was possible for the students to trick the fund to get the loans, he said: â€œAlmost every system has its own weaknesses. Sometimes the problem is with chiefs because they certify on the application forms, so we assume that what they have said is true.
â€œItâ€™s the same as having ghost workers in the civil service.â€
Government introduced the Yedef loans in 2009 to empower the youth and address the rising unemployment in the country. It has so far spent about K2.8 billion on two loan disbursements and business equipment, leaving a balance of about K200 million out of the allocated K3 billion.