Mulli Brothers Limited (MBL) managing director Leston Mulli has denied receiving any money from government, and accused some Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leaders of creating stories to tarnish him and his business.
He said this at a press briefing at his office in Chigumula, Blantyre on Friday following reports on social media that government has given him K17 billion, part of which will be used for this year’s Mulhako wa Alhomwe Festival.
During the anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations in Lilongwe on Thursday HRDC member Solomon Phiri claimed that government has given a K17 billion loan to a well known businessperson to be repaid in 83 years.
“The money was released through Reserve Bank of Malawi [RBM] and very shortly, we will give out the evidence,” he claimed.
Although Phiri did not mention the person, Mulli said he was compelled to react because some media organisations and social networks have mentioned him as the businessperson in question.
He described the allegations as a smear campaign against his business and has hinted at seeking legal redress.
“This is false because I did not get the money. Malawians are jealous, they create stories jus to damage someone they hate. This is sad because at the end of the day, it is Malawi that suffers because in addition to creating employment, we also pay tax to government.
“You cannot take such huge money by hand, it has to be transferred. At which bank did the transactions take place? This is vendetta against Mulli, which started sometime back. We wanted to get a loan to finance Celcom [mobile phone company], but the financiers withdrew because of similar negative reports. Now we have restarted [loan negotiations] and the reports have resurfaced.
“These people have not done business, not even a security one or a wholesale shop. They don’t know how tough it is,” said Mulli.
When told that HRDC says it has evidence, Mulli laughed off the claim, wondering why they are not showing it now.
Some people believe that MBL receives negative publicity because of its alleged connection with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but Mulli has urged Malawians to distinguish him from the company.
“The company is not political, it supports the government of the day. Whichever party can be in power, the company will work with it. But as a person, I have political choice, and I support the DPP. Even you, journalists, have political parties of your choices and there is nothing wrong with that,” he said.