ACB makes fresh Cashgate arrest

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday arrested former procurement officer for the Ministry of Tourism, Oddoi Kamange—six years after he allegedly run away from facing the law.

Kamange is suspected to be involved the plunder of public resources widely known as Cashgate.

He is alleged to have K6 million from Esnart Ndovi fully knowing that the money represented proceeds of crime. He is also suspected to have stolen close to K13 million from the Malawi Government.

ACB senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala said Kamange is likely to be charged with two counts of money laundering contrary to Section 42(1) (c) of the Financial Crimes Act and one count of theft contrary to Section 278 of the Penal Code.

Kamange was first mentioned in court by Esnart Ndovi who became the fifth person to plead guilty to taking part in the plunder of public resources in 2013 when she admitted that her company was used to siphon K12.9 million ($23,035) from public coffers.

Following her guilty plea, she joined businessperson-cum -politician Oswald Lutepo, public servants the late Tressa Senzani (late), Leonard Kalonga and James Bandula Chirwa who also pleaded guilty to Cashgate related charges since trials started in 2014.

In her statement of plea  which the ACB prosecutor Michael Kalonga read out in court, Ndovi said she was approached by Kamange, to use her business, Fusion Limited’s registration certificate.

She said she knew Kamange as a brother in marriage whose wife stayed with her for some time and did not suspect that he wanted to use it for nefarious means.

She suspected Kamange had used the money to purchase a house in Area 12 and a Toyota Landcruiser from a businessperson.

According to Ndala the Bureau is continuing with the prosecution and investigations into Cashgate cases.

“So far there are nine cases which have been prosecuted and completed in which 20 people were convicted. All the nine cases ended in convictions. Some of the convicts are serving their sentences while others are out of prison after serving their sentences,” she said.

However, while admitting the slow pace in handling Cashgate cases, Ndala attributed such delays to various factors including the fact that when a case is in court it ceases to be under the control of the bureau.

Over 70 people from both the public and private sector have been arrested in connection with Cashgate. Out of this number there are 51 civil servants so far who have been prosecuted and undergone trials.

Of the 20 suspects, 16 are civil servants who have been convicted and were sentenced to between 3 years and 12 years imprisonment with hard labour.

Cases involving about 28 other civil servants are at advanced stages in courts while seven others are still outstanding.

According to Senior State Advocate in the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Pirirani Masanjala, the sum total suspected plunder of Government resources in Cashgate, a financial scandal involving looting, theft and corruption that happened at Capital Hill in 2013 was approximately at over K16 billion.

Of this, approximately K9.5 billion was plundered using the Ministry of Tourism, Local Government, and OPC whilst over K6 billion is suspected to have been plundered using the Malawi Defence Forces (MDF).

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