Cashgate’s Missing pieces: The many puzzles in Malawian politics




Just a few example of what people are saying online. As I’ve stated several times previously, social media is always awash with scandal. Overflowing speculation, literally bubbling with the stuff. That’s the picture one gets when they visit Facebook groups such as this.

If it wasn’t for the well-known fact that some of this stuff that begins its journeys circulating on social media actually end up being true, or at least not entirely false, I’d just give up on some of these groups altogether.

Inevitably, things people say within Social Media can be hard to distinguish from mere speculation, and that means if you source some material from them, and present it as fact, you are taking a risk. Having said that, the situation becomes different when the speculation contains more than a few truths within it. And when it is presented as speculation.

Below are some of the  views that I have recently encountered, which minimally presents the sentiments within some quarters in Malawi. Whether these views represent a majority is doubtful. Whether they are genuine (as opposed to parody) is open to question…

joyce BandaThis is in response to a news update that appeared on president Banda’s Facebook page that the president had been appointed as Patron of the Nelson Mandela Children’s hospital Trust :


And then there are the allegation’s against the presidency and supposed conspirators within the cashgate. This was published today on the social media outlet I referred to above:


Malawi’s Cashgate beleaguered interim President Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda has been caught in a catch 22 situation where she has sacrificed some officials while protecting those that will expose her involvement in the Cashgate corruption scandal.

We can reveal that McFelton Filisa, a civil servant who has stolen millions in taxpayer’s money but is being protected by President Joyce Banda from prosecution.

Efforts by the Anti-Corruption Bureau to arrest him after twice appearing before them for investigations have fallen on deaf ears.


Mcfelton Filisa is a Chancellor College graduate in Computer Science who works in the Malawi Government’s Civil Service Commission. He joined Malawi government in 2007.

Filisa is one if the IT experts used by President Joyce Banda to raid IFMIS and syphon government money.

We are reliably informed that from every transaction Filisa made on behalf of the President, he received 10 per cent of whatever millions were syphoned out.

When he worked in the Accountant General’s office, Filisa’s work was to enter fictitious payments in the IFMIS system and after processing them to delete them and leave no trail.

He was however, transferred to the Civil Service Commission after his clandestine activities with President Joyce Banda were leaked to the media by his estranged wife.

Although he has changed offices, Filisa has got user-rights to continue accessing the IFMIS system.

He is reported to have been keeping at least MK50 million at a go in his residence on many occasions.


Mr Filisa lives in opulence. He owns:

4 houses: One in Area 25 , 2 houses in New Area 49 ,1 house with swimming pool in New Area 49 Gulliver
1 house in Area 47 Sector 5 , 1 4X4 Lexus Land Cruiser, 1 Mercedes Benz, 1 BMW , 1Toyota Fortuner


This house in the pictures is a Cashgate house that belongs to Mcfelton Filisa.
Initially, Filisa had wanted the property to be a lodge.

However, work at the site has been stopped because of disagreements with his estranged wife who is also claiming the same property.

When we visited the multi-million house this week we discovered the following; it has cctv cameras, every room has a jacuzzi, it has a very nice fish pond, and they use electronic cards to open the doors.

My first problem with this is where did this guy get all this information from? He doesn’t say so, and that in itself is problematic, if not suspect. Further, who is he, a member of the Anti-corruption bureau? A forensic investigator? Or a concerned citizen? Whoever he is, such news stories are many and commonplace, they are the order of the day in Malawi. Days before, the same person posted a story alleging that the president was constructing a filling station and blocks of flats in Lilongwe:


And a few days previously:


Yesterday, the well-known lawyer Z Allan Ntata, who informally goes by the name The Chief Mourner put out the following about Mpwiyo:


Paul Mphwiyo perjured himself before Parliament and ought to be prosecuted. Mphwiyo told PAC he has a number of businesses that support his lifestyle. He said tha ACB probed him some time back and found nothing.

When ACB investigated him it turned out that none of the businesses he alleged could support his extravagant lifestyles. When ACB interrogated his alleged business partners they all denied making the kind of money Paul alleged and even referred the ACB to a banker who could vouch for Pauls crookedness.

Either ACB is corrupt or incompetent because all it had to do is cross check with MRA. Some one who is in business and makes enough money to buy a number of Fortuners and M class Mercedes as well as build a big house in months, furnished entirely from China and then put in a swimming pool, drill a high powered borehole, put I’m CCTV and still have money left over to fly to Disneyland USA with his family for a short break must be in big business and must be paying high taxes.

If there is no record of his business taxes at MRA then he either perjured himself at PAC, paid off ACB, or is guilty of tax evasion or all three.

Paul Mphwiyo needs to be brought to book and prosecuted for either of or all of these offenses, IF the President is serious about cashgate, not rewarded with a promotion as President Banda has done.

On the subject of assets, a few weeks earlier, someone posted this about Joyce Banda:

Joyce Banda’s wealth: Assets = Stella Maris Townhouses worth about MK 100 million, House in Kabula 100 million, Kanjuwe Building used for selling sugar 50 million, Ndirande Building used for selling 6 million, House in Chintheche 150 million, 50 tippers at 10 million each, 700 trucks masked under other names, school 300 million, current allowances for foreign trips = US $ 9000 per day, Trips around Africa $ 6000 per day, Local Allowances 12-15 million a day!!  How did she acquire all this wealth? If a tax audit was done by independent authorities, will she be found to be innocent?

Again big question marks everyuwhere. Is this propaganda?

However, regarding Mpwiyo, if it is the case that he lied, then it is unfortunate, as the impression that has been put forward all alomng by the government of Malawi is that he was trying to bust graft. Having said that, there are many people who claim Mphwiyo is not clean. These people say that Mphwiyo is in fact a crook. The specific evidence to their claims is what is missing.

A few days ago someone wrote:

…I feel exactly the same way. It is true in Malawi we are not free yet. There is no true democracy, people are still living as though they are being ruled by dictators. We do not have to hide our feelings, we do not have to walk the line that they have drawn for us, we must not stand for any more mediocrity but must ask more from our politicians and our selves. The statement Ukapilile must stop being chanted. We must take the example of the 1st world nations and start firing our politicians, just cause they has a seat does not mean they can not be impeached. It is our money they are playing and our lives. We as Engineers, Doctors, Economists, Managers, Accountants, etc. educated as we are yet we can not, in our own country afford the same life styles that our fellows are able to afford in the same line of work as us in there countries. Let us stop talking in our homes and march to the beat of our own drums and tell them no more. We will not be brain washed by your empty promises, we will not lay and wait as you plunder all that is ours, and we will not go gentle into that…

Frustration and helplessness in the face of what they view as a government which is doing too little to help. On the same day, another person wrote:

If you let someone undermine you, they will do exactly that. Political and economic stability in Africa in general is just a dream for most because they have allowed themselves to be undermined by their political masters. Dictatorship clothed in democracy is being extensively tolerated by the same people being short changed. Economy is being used as a tool to decide and rule to avoid accountability by the theives disguised as political leaders. We have too many political parties because each one is not interested in serving the people but personal glory of the individuals concerned.

Whether you view this as more philosophical than practical, or as a protest against a system that is broken from the core, it seems there are quite a considerable number of people who see the system itself as being at fault. The other day another person wrote something similar: 

…Our cultural background has made us adopt informal norms in governance, in which the leadership is feared, adored and worshiped even in the wake of gross public resource mismanagements and poor governance. The idea of ‘big man’ ‘ngwazi’ ‘chitsulo cha njanji’ etc have catapulted our leaders into less responsive leaders, because they turn into semi-gods and untouchables as such they become arrogant (a worst form of stupidity). Political policies must be formulated to regulate giving too much power to our leaders, for them to be servants not masters. We cannot scrap important notions of our constitution, but we can regulate some clauses that put in danger and disrepute our hard won democracy. Secondly, the citizenry is more concerned with a government that is responsive; when our people ask for a borehole, know for sure they have suffered long enough. A responsive government will always address pertinent issues that affect its people outright and beforehand. The people’s interest and their emancipation must come first.

Then there are the general grievances against the investigations into cashgate:


Including some who think not enough is being done to get to the bottom of Cashgate, and that there’s still more to be done:

auditsThere are many view over the events that have been unfolding, but I have to end this post here.

Only time will tell how true these serious allegations are, and I hope the courts in Malawi will uphold justice over political favours throughout the investigation process. But one can’t be too sure… The preliminary findings (below according to one source) are not exactly what you would call encouraging:


My own viewpoint is that as a matter of principle, a leader’s credibility is greatly diminished when they stand in the way of an investigation. It doesn’t matter who the leader is. Irrespective of the efficacy of the judicial system within a country, a political leader must not obstruct due legal process.


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