The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says investigations into the K2.7 billion Malawi Police Service (MPS) food rations contract have revealed that President Peter Mutharika did not personally benefit from K145 million deposited in the DPP’s bank account.
In an e-mailed response to a questionnaire, ACB director general Reyneck Matemba said much as he could not disclose more details on the bureau’s conclusions, the evidence the graft-busting body has gathered shows that Mutharika did not personally benefit from the K145 million that went in a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) bank account.
“Bank documents and other documents that we have, some of which were provided to us by the State President himself, clearly show that the ultimate beneficiary of the K145 million was the Democratic Progressive Party and not the State President,” he said.
But Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence said ACB should not be acting as a court of law, but allow justice to take its course.
He said civil society organisations will pursue the matter to its conclusion.
“We are worried that we have an ACB that can be politically manipulated when the two reports from the same institution are contradictory. We are worried that ACB is acting as the court clearing individuals when they should just investigate. Malawians will no longer trust the ACB to do its work independently,” Trapence said.
Speaking on public broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Talk to the President programme on Thursday night, Mutharika, who is the sole signatory of the bank account held at Standard Bank, described the money as an honest donation.
He claimed that no single cheque was written in his name and that some individuals he did not mention orchestrated the issue to blow it out of proportion.
Mutharika said: “I know of a few individuals who were sent by some parties to tarnish my name and the DPP. All over the world, people receive donations and it is normal for people to receive donations.”
He reiterated that the DPP account was opened for a project to construct the party’s headquarters in Blantyre.
Pioneer Investment deposited the K145 million into the DPP account immediately after getting a K2.7 billion payment from MPS for supplying food rations.
Last week, the DPP, through its spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, said it will refund the money to Pioneer Investment, a move the Malawi Law Society described as an admission of wrongdoing.
The matter is currently in the High Court in Blantyre where DPP and Pioneer last week argued that the case should be dismissed on grounds that the plaintiff, Youth and Society, does not have sufficient interest to pursue the case. n