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Joyce Banda returns to Malawi to ‘rebuild party’ ahead of elections

Last year police issued an arrest warrant for Joyce Banda in connection with the country's 'cashgate' corruption scandal, which involved large-scale looting of government coffers.

Former Malawian President Joyce Banda. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Malawi's former president Joyce Banda will arrive home this week after four years of self-imposed exile that saw an arrest warrant issued against her for alleged corruption.

Her party says she's returning to rebuild the organisation ahead of next year's elections.

Reuters reported on Monday that Banda would be home on Saturday.

Last year police issued an arrest warrant for Banda in connection with the country's "cashgate" corruption scandal, which involved large-scale looting of government coffers.

Police say the warrant remains but it’s not yet clear if the former president will be taken into custody once she arrives.

Cashgate, a corruption scandal in which senior government officials syphoned millions of dollars from state coffers, was uncovered in 2013, while she was president.

Donor countries cut off aid, hampered development in Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and most aid-dependent countries.

Banda, Malawi’s first female president, lost elections to Peter Mutharika a year later. Facing allegations of abuse of office and money laundering, which she denied, she left the country and has not been back since.

A former justice minister and attorney general were convicted over Cashgate, along with a number of former high-ranking government officials and business people.

Banda has been living in the United States, serving as a distinguished fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Center for Global Development in Washington DC.

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