The Attorney General (AG), Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, spilled a can of worms on Tuesday when he conducted a media briefing relating to affairs of Salima Sugar Company Limited, a joint venture enterprise between Malawi Government and Indian company.
According to AG’s statement, the company has been used as a cashcow for Indian investors and some government officials leaving Malawian taxpayer with debts close to over K150 billion to settle.
Former Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC), Lloyd Muhara, and former Finance Minister, Joseph Mwanamveka, are among the high-profile DPP gurus who have been implicated on the looters list.
While Salima Sugar Company started producing sugar, but has never been released into Malawi market, dozens of Indian businesses have been collecting the commodity with some of them never paying for it and taking all proceeds back to India.
The company has also been declaring loses, despite making billions of kwacha in sugar export sales.
Malawi Fiscal Police are this week are expected to obtain and execute warrant of arrests for all Indian Directors and some of the Managers- including the factory Manager who has since gone to India and some former DPP gurus over different cases at the company.
Those marked for arrests include former Finance Minister Joseph Mwanamvenkha, former Secretary to the President and Cabinet Llyod Muhara and former Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa. Others culprits include former National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) Chief Executive Officer George Dulla, former Salima Sugar CEO Njoloma and unconfirmed individual who allegedly had contracts and obtained loans up to K300 million to set up sugar plantations.
All Indian directors and shareholders including former Executive Chairman and shareholder Shiriesh Betgiri who was already arrested before, are being accused of using the company to raise share capital and never contributing a cent from their own funds.
The Directors also paid themselves annual US$50,000 dollars as fees and all suppliers were a web of their own companies, family and friends. Some of the suppliers and contractors who received Salima Sugar and did not pay will also be arrested.
The former shareholders registered another Salima Sugar in Dubai and wanted to use it to borrow loans up to US$300 million for the company they claimed was not making profits.
The Forensic Audit on the company revealed that Directors forged and faked documentation and in some cases without full board approval attempted to obtain loans as high as K85 billion US$75 million and gave contracts to companies they owned or of friends.
The Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) is also investigating probable money laundering cases looking at the movement of billions of kwachas between companies and others.
It has been further disclosed that when the audit was running, Salima Sugar bosses offered the auditors K200 million bribe in exchange of a fraudulent report to their advantage. The auditors refused.