Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) in partnership with other agencies has launched an investigation into the missing of K340 million feared to have been stolen by one of the central bank’s managers.
RBM spokesperson Mbane Ngwira confirmed in a written response on Thursday that the central bank’s manager (fiscal operations) Charles Mchakulu is under investigation.
He said: “Initially, the investigation was between ourselves [RBM] and the Financial Intelligence Authority [FIA]. We have since brought in the Fiscal Police who are continuing with their role.
“So far the total amount that is being suspected is around K340 million.”
Ngwira said the fraud was discovered through a system of surveillance of transactions in the banking system.
He said: “The suspected employee had been making unsupported transfers from a government ORT [other recurrent transactions] account to a stationery supplier, Ideal Stationery.”
On June 12 2019, FIA sources obtained a freeze order with Mchakulu and Lucy Rachel Sukali trading as Ideal Stationery, whose account was used as a conduit to siphon money from the bank, as respondents.
Through the court order, the FIA wants to freeze a bank account at National Bank of Malawi Victoria Avenue Service Centre in Blantyre which at the time the order was issued had a balance of K120 917 295.60.
The order in civil case number 432 of 2019 further restrains residential property at plot number Area 6/137 and residential property number Area12/460.
In an earlier interview yesterday, RBM Governor Dalitso Kabambe indicated that the fraud was uncovered following an audit, but referred the matter to Ngwira for further details.
He said: “We did an audit, we have concluded an audit and the results of that audit are what informed the developments.”
FIA director Atuweni Juwayeyi-Agbermodji also confirmed that her authority obtained an order on the matter.
She said: “This is an on-going investigation and I cannot discuss the details of the investigation.”
In recent years, corruption, embezzlement and fraud have hit many government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the country with various audit reports, newspaper and criminal investigations pointing to worsening of the vice.
Since the 2013 revelations of Cashgate, the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill through inflated invoices and payment for goods and services not rendered that drained K24 billion from public coffers over a randomly-chosen six-month period, financial scandals continue to be reported bordering on procurement, invoicing, contracting, allowance claims and kickbacks.
The country is ranked 120 on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by Transparency International (TI) while Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance also raised concerns on governance in the country.