Tuesday, May 28, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: High Court judge’s wife steals K50 million at Malawi Gaming Board

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Mrs Ofwa Alide Director of Legal Services: Implicated

They say corruption does not see face! The High Court Judge’s wife, a lawyer of high repute and standing has been implicated in a corruption scandal at Malawi Gaming Board (MGB) where she is Director of Legal Services and is accused of stealing more than K50 million from poor Malawian taxpayers.

We can reveal that Ofwa Alide, wife to High Court Judge at the Commercial Court Division Justice Jabbar Alide is one of the two senior managers who have been suspended following an ongoing forensic audit where our taxes amounting to almost K600 million have been plundered by three top managers there.

According to information that we have seen, Alide and Director of Finance, Administration and Human Resources Henri Bakuwa were instrumental in stealing the cash using an ‘unknown company account’.

Documents in our possession show that former Chief Executive Officer for Malawi Gaming Board Foster Mulumbe is also involved in the financial scam. Mulumbe was at the centre of a corruption scandal involving maize deals when he was Chief Executive Officer at Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) before moving to Malawi Gaming Board in 2019.

Henri Bakuwa too was implicated in some financial and procurement scandals when he served as Director of Finance and later Acting Chief Executive Officer at Blantyre Water Board (BWB) before joining Malawi Gaming Board in 2019. Other places where is said to have embezzled funds include Kiwi Products, General Farming in Kasungu and Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.

Documents that we have seen show that the trio used to transfer money from some accounts of the company from National Bank of Malawi (NBM) to another company account held at FDH Bank which was only known to the three managers.

Money in excess of K593 million was taken and shared by the three individuals in a space of two years.

“A pattern was observed in the account whereby there would be a bank transfer from National Lotteries Board (NLB) followed by cheque withdraws by individuals believed to be employees of Malawi Gaming Board,” reads a document in our possession.

ALIDE: His wife in lottery gate

The FDH ‘unknown’ account was apparently opened in September 2019 by Bakuwa soon after joining the institution from BWB.

Bakuwa would transfer money from the NLB account held at NBM to the FDH account and later use cheques to withdraw the money.

An analysis of the withdrawals indicate that Bakuwa withdrew the largest amounts totaling K379, 163,251.38 while Mulumbe withdrew K163, 133,140.64 and Alide withdrew K50, 703, 607.98. This was done in a space of two years.

“In general, the amounts moved from NLB through an account of MGB at FDH then finally to the beneficiaries as summarized in table 3 above. Malawi Gaming Board further noted that the amounts to the individuals were done even when there travel restrictions due to the covid019 pandemic,” reads part of the report that we have seen.

Insiders also revealed that Bakuwa has mismanaged the staff welfare fund amounting to K10.2 million which he is failing to pay back.

MGB Board chairperson Bernard Ndau confirmed to a local newspaper that there is an ongoing forensic audit at MGB but declined to comment further.

Bakuwa and Alide also declined to comment on the matter although they confirmed their suspension from work.

Mlumbe also declined to comment when contacted.

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