Who is fooling who? The ertswhile ruling People’s Party (PP) has claimed that it rebuffed an electoral alliance with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)which in retribution wants to arrest its leader Joyce Banda.
The party has, in fact, challenged government to effect the said warrant of arrest for Banda if they have evidence linking her to the looting of public resources at Capital Hill, dubbed Cashgate.
PP’s leaders—secretary general Ibrahim Matola, vice-presidents Ralph Mhone (North), Beatrice Mwale (Centre) and Roy Kachale-Banda (East) as well as publicity secretary Ackson Kalaile-Banda made the remarks during a press briefing in Mzuzu yesterday.
But DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister for Homeland Security, said his party has never spoken to PP because it has never been interested to be associated with PP.
It follows government’s sentiments that Banda’s warrant of arrest in relation to Cashgate is still alive and valid, and that in the fullness of time, she will face the law.
In July 2017, Malawi Police Service (MPS) said it had secured a warrant of arrest from the court for JB, and that it had also notified International Police (Interpol) member-States about it. JB was then in self-
imposed exile at that time.
At that time, National Police press and public relations office issued a statement which was signed by spokesperson James Kadadzera, stating that police had unearthed credible evidence against Banda’s involvement in abuse of office and money-laundering cases.
“The Malawi Police Service wishes to inform
Malawians that its Fiscal and Fraud Section conducted some investigations on the suspected involvement of the former president in Cashgate cases and unearthed credible evidence.
“The evidence gathered raises reasonable suspicion that the former president committed offences relating to abuse of office and money-laundering,” reads the statement in part.
Even after returning home, government remained mum on JB’s arrest, only for Cabinet ministers Henry Mussa, Goodall Gondwe and Samuel Tembenu to break the silence on Friday, telling the nation that the warrant of arrest was still valid.
But addressing the media in Mzuzu yesterday, Kalaile-Banda said the DPP is bitter because PP rebuffed several requests for an electoral alliance in the May 21 2019 elections.
He said: “We have names of those senior officials who approached us, and they even met Dr Joyce Banda, asking her to work with
them. But after that failed, after we rejected them, they are coming with all these allegations. This is just witch-hunting because they have seen us working with MCP.”
In an interview after the briefing, Matola added that the tactics deployed by DPP “will not work”, and that his party’s relationship with Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is not shaken.
He said: “There were several attempts, with different DPP members coming to us as individuals and as a party, but we sat down as a party to look at the matter. Dr Joyce Banda doesn’t make decisions on her own, she depends on the national executive committee to make a decision.
“We called for the national executive committee to discuss the issue, and as a party, we decided to go for an alliance with MCP. The DPP was approaching us, but we said no, several times. They are now sheding crocodile tears, and they are trying to disturb what we have with MCP, but that will not work.”
PP argues that it does not know when Cashgate began but claims that during the Bingu administration, when Joyce Banda was vice-president, there was rampant corruption.
Meanwhile, the ruling party has laughed off the claims, with Dausi, saying they can never get into an alliance with PP.
“That is not true, there is no way we can ask for an alliance with PP. Who wants to associate with Cashgate people?
When in power, Banda ordered a forensic audit undertaken by British firm Baker Tilly covering a randomly selected six months period—between April and September 2013.
The audit established that about K24 billion was siphoned from the public coffers through dubious payments on inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
In May 2015, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciled between 2009 and December 31 2014.
However, the K577 billion figure was later revised downwards to K236 billion by another British forensic auditor. n