Malawi Police Issue Arrest Warrant for Former President Banda
Malawian police issued an arrest warrant for former President Joyce Banda over her alleged involvement in a scheme in which companies and individuals were paid for services that weren’t provided.
“The evidence gathered raises reasonable suspicion that the former president committed offenses relating to abuse of office and money laundering,” Malawi Police spokesman James Kadadzera said in an emailed statement.
Banda wasn’t involved in the scheme and the arrest warrant is a political witch-hunt by the government, her spokesman Andekuche Chanthunya told closely held Zodiak Broadcasting Station on Monday. The former president is abroad and will return to Malawi soon, Chanthunya said, without providing further details.
The alleged theft of as much as 24 billion kwacha ($33 million), dubbed Cashgate by local news media and which involved the government payment of goods and services that were never delivered, prompted donors to suspend direct aid to Malawi. Oswald Lutepo, the first individual to be convicted of a crime related to the scheme, identified Banda as the mastermind.
Banda left Malawi after losing an election to Peter Mutharika in 2014. The government has said her failure to return to the country raised suspicions she was part of the scheme.
By Frank Jomo