Records in the 2019 assets show contrasting submissions between incumbent President Lazarus Chakwera and his predecessor Peter Mutharika.
In the records The Nation sourced from the Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations, Chakwera—then a member of Parliament for Lilongwe North West, but was challenging the May 21 2019 presidential election results—estimated his total assets at K272 million.
On the other hand, Mutharika—who at the time was the Head of State—declared residential houses in Lilongwe and Blantyre and one vehicle among his assets. However, unlike Chakwera, he fell short of indicating the balances in his personal bank accounts.
In contrast, in 2014, Mutharika declared to have had K70 million in his Standard Bank plc personal account and $2 million (about K1.4 billion at current exchange rate) in two banks in the United States of America. He also declared nine motor vehicles bought between 2001 and 2014.
In his declaration form submitted on September 17 2019, Chakwera indicated that he had K43 million cash in various bank accounts, including one in the United States of America. The local banks holding Chakwera’s cash included FDH Bank (K27 486 584), National Bank of Malawi plc (K3 486 362.40), First Capital Bank plc (K1.3 million) and Wells Fargo USA ($15 000 or K11.2 million).
The current President also declared to have another account at NBS Bank plc, but filled ‘Not known’ in the amount of money section.
In terms of real estate, Chakwera declared a house in Area 49 Shire in Lilongwe built in 1988 with valued construction cost of K4 million. He said the project was funded by a loan from New Building Society, NBS Bank’s forerunner.
He also declared his private residence in Area 6 in Lilongwe built in 2019 and valued at K100 million. He said it was funded by an Opportunity Bank loan, his salary and gratuity.
Besides assets held in his name, Chakwera also declared houses owned by his immediate family, including a house in Area 49 valued at K30 million and that it was procured with a loan and terminal benefits from Air Malawi. The member of the immediate family owning the property is identified as Reverend Mwasinga.
Chakwera’s wife, Monica, declared a house in Lilongwe’s Area 10 valued at K80 million and constructed in 2008. He said it was jointly financed by a mortgage and sale of houses in Area 15 and Area 3 in Lilongwe.
He also declared Kapiri 2 Farm in his Malembo Village in Lilongwe which, he said, he inherited from his family. He also declared another plot at Nyangulu Village, Traditional Authority Makanjira in Salima purchased at K1 million from his gratuity.
Chakwera also declared a fleet of vehicles owned by him personally and his immediate family.
The vehicles include a Mercedes Benz saloon registration BS 1835 bought in 2014 at K4.5 million using a bank loan, a Range Rover registration MC 9664 worth K9 million bought in 2017 with a bank loan and Isuzu truck registration LL 2901 valued at K18 million purchased in 2014 with a bank loan.
He also declared two vehicles he received as gifts; namely a Hummer registration MC 20 he said he received in 2014 and a Toyota Hilux single cab he was given by a well-wisher in 2018.
He also declared to have received another vehicle, Toyota Prado TX. However, the President did not declare who his benefactors were for the vehicles.
In his declaration, Chakwera also included motor vehicles owned by his son Nick, daughters Violet Mwasinga and Tapiwa Kampondeni and son-in-law, Sean Chitsanzo Kampondeni.
The President also said he signed a K50 million car loan with FDH Bank through Parliament.
On his part, Mutharika declared that he owned one vehicle, a used Cadillac valued at K55.2 million procured in 2017. In the previous declaration, he said the vehicle was bought for his wife, Gertrude Mutharika.
Unlike in 2014, this time around he declared no amount of cash in banks both for himself and his wife. He also provided no details about the wealth his children had.
In the 2019 declaration, Mutharika said he had three houses. The houses are spread in Area 10 in Lilongwe bought for K10 million in 2008 using his savings and salary and Nyambadwe in Blantyre purchased in 2010 at K7 million with money from his salary, allowances and savings.
He also declared one house in the USA whose address is St. Louis, USA bought in 1982 and valued at $750 000 purchased with savings and salary in the USA.
The ex-president also declared that he bought two plots in Area 43 and Area 32 in Lilongwe using his savings and allowances, but did not indicate the value. His wife, Gertrude, declared two plots in Lilongwe, both procured in 2018 and valued at K8.9 million and K7.2 million, respectively.
In an interview yesterday, Chakwera’s executive assistant Sean Kampondeni said the President has submitted a fresh declaration upon ascending to the office of President. He said the resubmitted declaration contains updated information.
In 2018, outgoing assets declarations director Christopher Tukula bemoaned the conduct of some Cabinet ministers who did not declare their assets. He said failure to declare assets was a criminal offence.