Africa

Malawi's Treza Senzani jailed over 'Cashgate'

US dollars (file photo) Image copyright Thinkstock

Malawi has jailed its first senior official for the so-called "Cashgate" affair - the worst financial scandal in the country's history.

A court in Lilongwe sentenced former tourism official Treza Senzani to three years' imprisonment with hard labour.

She pleaded guilty to stealing $150,000 (£93,000) of government money.

At least 70 people have been arrested over "Cashgate" after an audit revealed that about $30m had been skimmed from the government payment system.

Businessmen and politicians are alleged to have connived with civil servants to make payments for goods and services that were never delivered.

Western donor nations and agencies, which provide 40% of Malawi's budget, pulled the plug on vital aid worth around $150m in reaction to the scandal.

Allegations of the massive looting of government money became public following the shooting of the finance ministry's then budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September 2013.

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