LILONGWE ( Malawi NewsNow) – Malawi police on Monday issued an arrest warrant for former president Joyce Banda for abuse of office and money launderingin connection with the country’s “Cashgate” corruption scandal, which involved large-scale looting of government coffers.
Police said they have gathered evidence against Banda in the 2013 Cashgate case, where the government led by her was accused of looting public funds through shady construction deals.
“The evidence gathered raises reasonable suspicion that the former president committed offences relating to abuse of office and money laundering,” Malawi police spokesman James Kadadzera said in statement.
Police said that there is need to interrogate Banda over the allegations, and so an arrest warrant has been issued.
“Malawi fiscal and fraud police have unearthed credible evidence which raises reasonable suspicion that the former president committed offences relating to abuse of office and money laundering,” Kadadzera said.
Banda has been living in self-imposed exile since she lost to President Peter Mutharika in the 2014 election.
Kadadzera said Banda is ” suspected of abusing her office” in the Cashgate scandal.
Cashgate is the biggest financial scandal in Malawi’s history and helped push Banda out of power in 2014.
That came after she ordered an audit the previous year which discovered that $30m had been looted by officials in less than six months in 2013.
Africa’s second female president, who became the West’s darling for her austerity measures, lost power to incumbent Peter Mutharika in the 2014 elections and has been in self-imposed exile in South Africa and the U.S.
The announcement by the police is the first to be made publicly since Banda left the country on fears that she might be arrested.
Kadadzera added that it was not standard practice to publicly announce arrest warrants released against a person. “However, public interest in the Cashgate case necessitates providing this information to the public.”