Businesspersons who mobilised money to refund National Aids Commission (NAC) on behalf of First Lady Getrude Mutharika’s Beautify Malawi (Beam)Trust have taken back their funds.
Chief Secretary to the Government George Mkondiwa said on Monday the money is no longer with OPC.
However, Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba, who had received the money from the group and handed it over to the Office of the President and Cabinet, expressed ignorance about the matter.
NAC donated K5 million to Beam in September last year, attracting protests from a number of quarters, including some civil society organisations which demonstrated over the matter.
In the wake of refund demands, some businesspersons in Lilongwe, led by Bannet Chinsinga, sourced the money and paid it through Mkwezalamba. However, NAC and Beam distanced themselves from the refund which was eventually sent to OPC for safe keeping.
Said Mkondiwa: “The money is no longer with us as those that brought it came and collected. We have the receipts for that.”
While Mkwezalamba denied any knowledge of the matter, Chinsinga confirmed being reimbursed, saying it was because the money was idle at OPC.
Said Chinsinga: “OPC called me last month to collect the money and I got it. We shared it among the businesspersons that contributed.”
He defended the move, saying since NAC and Beam rejected the offer, they had no choice, but to take it back.
However, Mkwezalamba expressed surprise that the money was returned to the donors wondering why his organisation was excluded.n