Over a month after being declared missing, Malawi Police Service (MPS) yesterday said they are treating embattled former budget director Paul Mphwiyo as a fugitive.
They said the suspect may have fled the country in view of his protracted Cashgate case which now awaits judgement.
In a telephone interview, National Police Spokesperson Peter Kalaya said they have, however, intensified their investigation in search for Mphwiyo who, along other Cashgate suspects, is accused of defrauding government of K2.4 billion when he was budget director in 2012/13.
He said: “We have suspicions that Mphwiyo might not be missing, but rather that he is on the run. While we are looking for him, and we are aware that he is answering criminal charges, there are chances that he might be on the run.”
Kalaya could not state if they have collaborated with Interpol now that they suspect that the former budget director may be a fugitive.
Mphwiyo was reported missing by his family on June 26 2023, meaning today marks 37 days since his disappearance.
On June 21, just four days before he was reported missing, the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal cleared the High Court to proceed with its judgement in his case which has been under trial for nine years. The court is yet to set date for judgement.
Last week, our sister paper Nation on Sunday reported that Mphwiyo kept his passport since 2015, contrary to his bail condition.
The High Court allowed him to use the passport to travel to South Africa for medical attention and hand it back to the State but he never did.
Police preliminary findings indicated that Mphwiyo left Lilongwe through Kamuzu International Airport to Chileka International Airport, where he checked out and was last seen leaving Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre.