Concerned citizen Gosten Chinseu has asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate the source of funding for a fleet of vehicles purportedly bought by UTM Party.
In a letter hand-delivered at ACB headquarters in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Chinseu said he was making the request in line with the Political Parties Act which requires parties to disclose their sources of funding.
Reads the letter in part: “Funding for political parties is in line with Section 40 (2) of the Constitution and should, therefore, form part of our political culture as a country without compromise.
“As a concerned and enlightened citizen, I fully understand that currently, UTM, owing to their numerical representation in Parliament, does not fall in the bracket of receiving funding from government.
“This means two things: UTM’s financials cannot be audited as stipulated in the Political Parties Act, but at the same time, their accumulation of assets and resources should fall under a different kind of scrutiny, a noble service I have chosen to provide on behalf of Malawians.”
ACB principal public relations officer Egrita Ndala yesterday confirmed receiving the complaint related to the alleged purchase of 200 vehicles and other assets by UTM Party is headed by Vice-President Saulos Chilima.
She said the bureau will assess the complaint and ascertain if it falls within its mandate.
Ndala said: “We would like to confirm receipt of a complaint related to the purchase of 200 vehicles and other assets by the UTM. The bureau will review the complaint to ascertain if there is merit to warrant the bureau’s action according to its mandate.”
But UTM Party publicity secretary Frank Mwenifumbo yesterday dismissed reports that the party has bought over 200 vehicles valued at K3 billion.
He said the party bought pickups for its 11 members of Parliament (MPs) and wondered why Chinseu was obsessed with UTM when other parties made similar expenses.
Mwenifumbo said: “Ask him [Chinseu] why is he so obsessed with UTM. Is it wrong to buy vehicles for MPs who form part of party functionaries? They need vehicles to do work.
“We have not bought the said 200 vehicles. These are simply lies. Many parties buy vehicles for their functionaries, why so obsessed with UTM?”
Last year, UTM Party’s partner in the nine-political party governing Tonse Alliance, Malawi Congress Party (MCP, was also queried over the procurement of eight Toyota Hilux pickups and a bus.
MCP said it used proceeds from the sale of part of the land housing the Game Complex in Lilongwe.
Political parties in Malawi have for years been silent on source of funding for their activities.
However, the Political Parties Act of 2018, among others, compels political parties to disclose to the Registrar [of Political Parties] sources of their funding and any donations.