Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Germany warns Malawi over robbery of diplomat’s residence

The Germany government has hinted on punishing the Malawi government if the robbery involving German diplomat’s residence in Lilongwe is not handled properly. Abreak-in into the house of a high-ranking German official handling the K557 billion forensic audit of government coffers has sparked a diplomatic incident between Lilongwe and Berlin. German Ambassador Peter Woeste confirmed the previously unreported burglary on Lilongwe’s Area 43 residence of a GIZ expert, which occurred last month on July 27. Woeste said the burglary could be politically motivated. According to diplomatic sources, thugs broke into the house of the official who is working on financial management system reforms where they only stole Cashgate work-related papers—prompting fears that the attack was motivated by the investigations into the K557 billion audit. Woeste said while they were still waiting for police report on the matter, the embassy was treating the break-in as work-related. He said the embassy has raised its concerns about the break-in with highest levels of Malawi Government. He said Germany was taking the incident “seriously” and wanted to see government taking action. Government, he said, had assured the embassy it will act on the matter. Germany, through its international cooperation wing, GIZ, is technically and financially supporting the audit, which is being carried out by auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC)—focusing on financial mismanagement in government. Part of Cashgate is the K24 billion theft of public funds between April and September 2013.



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