- President gets 5 vehicles from karim
- They are DPP cars—State House
After he denied personally benefiting from Zameer Karim’s K145 million donation to DPP; we can reveal that President Peter Mutharika accepted five vehicles from the businessperson roughly a year later.
Vehicle registration certificates we have seen and independently verified show that the registration of the vehicles, in Mutharika’s name, occurred just a year after Karim, who runs Pioneer Investment—the firm embroiled in the police food rations controversy—deposited K145 million into the ruling DPP bank account held at Standard Bank, for which Mutharika is the sole signatory.
But yesterday, while confirming that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has vehicles of such registration, State House reiterated that Mutharika did not also personally benefit from the vehicle donation.
Delivery notes that Weekend Nation has seen show that Karim bought five units of NP 300 vehicles from Nissan Malawi (Imperial Motors Limited) on July 31 2017 under order number 318712.
The delivery notes included particulars of the person making the purchase and particulars of the vehicle, including year of make, type of the vehicle, and reference number of the transaction, order numbers, chassis numbers and quoted prices.
The five vehicles are valued at K17 million each, bringing the total amount to K85 million.
However, records at the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) show that all the vehicles have one title holder—Arthur Mutharika.
The DRTSS records show that the change of ownership was managed by a proxy, State House employee Dabble Disi, whose title-holder number is 20150704157551.
State House press secretary Mgeme Kalilani acknowledged that Disi was Mutharika’s relation and that his name appears in some of the President’s own vehicles as a proxy.
“I can acknowledge that Disi is a relation to the President and as a requirement when registering cars at the DRTSS, the one registering the car is required to indicate a proxy and, yes, Disi appears as a proxy on some vehicles the President owns,” he said.
The vehicle donation and State House’s denial that the President benefitted from it typifies the rebuttal that followed when the same Karim deposited K145 million into the DPP the DPP account to which Mutharika is the sole signatory.
Mutharika denied any connection with Karim, saying the money spent from the donation went towards construction of a DPP office, and that he personally did not benefit from it.
The money was later given back to Karim and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba cleared Mutharika on grounds that he did not personally benefit from the hot gift.
It is, however, not clear whether Karim was cleared in the matter.
Our independent verification shows the vehicles were bought on July 31 2017 and were registered in Mutharika’s name seven days later.
One of the details of the vehicles from Karim is now registered with Arthur Mutharika as a title holder number 201601040226588.
Tracing the chassis numbers of the vehicles through documents at Imperial Stansfield Limited and DRTSS show that a vehicle chassis number ADNAPGD 22Z0097069 that Karim bought on July 31 2017 under tax invoice 20302981 was registered at DRTSS under registration BT 1829 with Arthur Mutharika as a title-holder under registration holder 201601040226588.
Karim also bought a vehicle whose chassis number was ADNAPGD 22Z0097063 under tax invoice number 20302980 but the vehicle carrying the same chassis number was registered under registration number TO 8287 with Arthur Mutharika as a title-holder.
The businessperson also bought a vehicle with chassis number ADNAPGD 22Z0097058 under invoice number 20302982 and was registered at DRTSS under registration number TO 8288 with the President as a title-holder.
On the same date, Karim bought a vehicle chassis number ADNAPGD 22Z0096973 under tax invoice number 20302985, which was registered at DRTSS under registration MJ 9582 with Arthur Mutharika as a title-holder.
He also bought a vehicle with chassis number ADNAPGD 22Z0096930 under invoice number 20302984 and was registered at DRTSS under registration number NE 5794 with Arthur Mutharika as a title-holder.
The particulars of Karim included Post Office Box 567 Blantyre.
But Kalilani yesterday categorically denied that Mutharika benefitted from the donation, saying it is the party that has registered such vehicles.
ACB’s Matemba, who cleared Mutharika’s involvement in the K145 million police food ration deal, said it does not have any complaint on the K85 million vehicle donation.
The ACB boss said he was not aware of any complaint surrounding the vehicle donations between Karim and Mutharika and that it was not part of the K145 million investigations.
“I have seen some information that is circulating on WhatsApp groups yesterday [Wednesday]. Our investigation was not about that. The complaint which we received was about the procurement of the food rations,” he said.
Matemba said he would not comment on the information that was circulating on the social media as it would be inappropriate.
He further clarified that the food ration deal was not the first between Pioneer Investments (IP) and the Malawi Police Service, saying Pioneer has been supplying food rations to police for over five years.
When called on his mobile number, a voice at the end of the line first said was Karim, but later—after being asked to explain how the vehicles changed hands—changed that it was not him answering the call.
“I am not Mr Karim, my name is Muhammad Aslam. I cannot comment much on this matter because the person who was handling this transaction [Mr Ahmed] is not around. He will be back on Monday as such, you can call me then to give you more details. I am sorry I cannot continue talking because I am on the road,” he said.
In the K145 million donation, the President and DPP while acknowledging receiving the money, argued that it was a party donation and that Mutharika did not directly benefit from it.
The party later, after pressure from civil society organisations, returned the money.