ACB probes K3.5bn Mudzi Transformation payments

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says it is still probing payments worth $4.5 million (about K3.5 billion) Mudzi Transformation Trust received from oil exploring companies on the same day that the Malawi Government issued licenses in 2013.

ACB director Reyneck Matemba told the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament on Friday in Lilongwe that so far, the bureau has identified $1 million (about K730 million) which Rak Gas Limited allegedly paid to Mudzi Transformation Trust.

He said to date, there is an accumulated amount of $4.5 million still being probed.

Mudzi Transformation Trust was a five-year project launched in 2013 to build houses for vulnerable people. It targeted 20 000 villages nationwide, but just over 500 houses were built at the end of former president Joyce Banda’s term in 2014.

Updating the Legal Affairs Committee on ACB progress of investigations and prosecutions last week, Matemba said the bureau launched an investigation in May last year to probe if cash exchanged hands when an oil exploration licence was granted to Rak Gas, which was accused of paying money to the trust for renovating houses.

He said: “We found that there were intriguing coincidences in the payment made to the trust, on the very same day the licence was being issued to Rak Gas, an amount of $1 million [about K730 million] was paid to Mudzi Transformation Trust. To date, there is an accumulated amount of $4.5 million which we are still investigating.”

One of the payments from Rak Gas Limited to the government was a donation of drugs and medical supplies worth over $1 million which were handed over to Banda at Kamuzu Place in Lilongwe in March 2014.

A group of Malawian civil societies together with Oxfam requested the probe whose findings the bureau says are not yet ready.

Matemba said investigations required international cooperation to gather further information because the oil companies were not based locally.

There were mixed reactions from people in the country on the exploration of oil on the lake where some were for it and others against it, but Banda’s administration granted the licences.

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