Blantyre, Malawi, Nov. 8 (MaraviPost) _ Malawi’s former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara has been arrested in connection with the September 13 shooting of Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo, police have confirmed.
“Mr. Kasambara was arrested at his house in (the capital) Lilongwe last night in connection with the attempt on the life of Mr. Mphwiyo,” police spokesman Kelvin Maigwa told maravipost Friday morning. “We have gathered evidence which suggests that Mr. Kasambara was involved in the shooting.”
The arrest of Kasambara, one of Malawi’s versatile lawyers, comes fast on the heels of a police search at his house in the low-density Area 10 suburb of the capital. According to Maigwa, on November 1 police mounted a search for a vehicle suspected to have been used in the unprecedented shooting of the 37-year-old technocrat, a shooting President Joyce Banda said was in connection to his anti-corruption crusade in government.
Mphwiyo was shot as he drove into his residence in the upmarket Area 43 suburb of Lilongwe.
The vehicle was not found at Kasambara’s residence.
Meanwhile, the main suspect in the Mphwiyo shooting Pika Manonda, who was on the run since the shooting, handed himself to police in the northern border district of Karonga on Thursday. He drove from neighbouring Tanzania.
Maigwa said no official charges have been levelled at both Kasambara and Maigwa.
“The Criminal Investigations Department will interview them today, they will later be taken to court for formal charges,” he said.
Three other suspects in the Mphwiyo shooting, including Manondo’s brother and a former soldier, are still in police custody.
The shooting incident kicked open a can of worms with civil servants being found with million of dollars under their beds or in their car trunks almost on a daily basis. They avoid banks to avoid questions as to where they get such colossal amounts of money. So far at least ten people have been arrested after being caught with the unexplained loot.
The civil servants reportedly connive with politicians and businessmen to fleece government of funds in payment for bogus services to government.
The European Union and the UK offered to assist investigating the historic financial fraud in the Malawi government. Forensic experts from the UK have since arrived in Malawi to help investigating the fraud, dubbed ‘cashgate’ by the local press.
In the wake of the looting in government Western donor countries and agencies, meeting in Lilongwe on Thursday under the Common Approach to Budget Support (CABS), have announced a blanket suspension of all aid to Malawi. CABS include the government of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Norway and the European Union, the African Development Bank and the World Bank. The International Monitory Fund (IMF) sits on CABS as an observer.
Corruption is endemic in Malawi so much that former Director of Public Prosecutions Fahad Assani, who incidentally has just been appointed Justice Minister with specific instructions to end corruption, famously said 30 per cent of Malawi’s annual budget is lost through fraud and corruption.
A number of former top government officials, including former president Bakili Muluzi and former his ministers, are currently answering fraud and corruption
charges in courts. Up to US $100 million is said to have been lost through fraud and corruption during the ten years Muluzi was in power.
The Banda administration has also just revealed that former president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died from cardiac arrest complications in April 2012, dubiously amassed a net wealth of over 60 billion Malawi kwacha (about US $174m) during the eight years he has been in power.-maravipost