—Chilima, Chakwera, Speaker assets also known
Malawi President Peter Mutharika is among a group of billionaires if part of the details of his wealth, as declared to the Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations, is anything to go by.
Information accessed by Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) from the assets’ director’s office indicates that Mutharika has a number of bank accounts within and outside Malawi that hold close to K4 billion cash.
For instance, the President, who declared his wealth in July last year, has over $8 million (about K3.4 billion) in two bank accounts which he holds in the United States of America (USA) where he spent most of his working life.
In Malawi, according to ZBS, Mutharika has about K70 million at Standard Bank and a fleet of nine vehicles which he reportedly bought between 2001 and 2014 also valued in millions of kwacha.
Mutharika’s predecessor, Joyce Banda, among her declarations, is about $14 000 (K6 million) in a bank in the USA, about 240 000 South African rand (over K9 million and K2 million at National Bank of Malawi.
Banda, who is president of the People’s Party (PP) and made her declarations on December 30 2014, also declared ownership of 63 vehicles, most of which she donated to her party and tax is yet to be paid in full to Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), according to ZBS.
The former president also declared businesses such as her school, Joyce Banda Foundation valued at K114 million.
The leaders mostly declared developed and undeveloped land, motor vehicles, bank deposits and share holding, among others.
On his part, Vice-President Saulos Chilima declared, mostly registered jointly with his wife Mary, several bank accounts holding about K8 million, five farms, several plots and houses and insurance policies valued at about K7 million.
Other details ZBS has sourced are those of the Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya and leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarous Chakwera.
Most of Msowoya’s assets declared on December 19 2014 are four houses constructed in Lilongwe and Mzuzu worth K120 million while Chakwera also declared four houses worth K120 million, six vehicles and six bank accounts, including one in America containing about K6 million.
Chakwera, who is also president of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), also said he jointly owns with immediate family members, 10 other different bank accounts.
Reacting to the revelations, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito said Malawians should scrutinize these declarations, saying it is not clear how some leaders accumulate wealth.
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) national secretary Chris Chisoni shared Kapito’s sentiments.
He, however, said it is difficult to assess how much former president Joyce Banda was worth before she entered politics or became President in April 2012 in line with constitutional order after the death of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
He called for a law that compels even political parties to declare assets, saying when MCP, the United Democratic Front (UDF) and others were in government, they were seen to be rich, but are now struggling.
In May 2004, Bingu declared his wealth to be around K150 million. However, an assessment of his estate after his death valued his wealth at K61 billion, a figure his family disputes.