Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka has said he is living in fear after business magnate Leston Mulli allegedly threatened to ‘kill’ him for publicly denouncing his claim of K8 billion interests from government.
But Mulli yesterday denied threatening to kill Kajoloweka, saying, he only questioned Kajoloweka’s interest on the matter, especially that the issue is also still in court.
The alleged threat came two days after Kajoloweka issued a press statement, on Thursday, questioning Mulli’s claim following the July 20 2011 protests which damaged Mulli’s companies—Sunrise Pharmaceuticals and Chombe Foods.
Following events of July 20, 2011, the two companies sued government for damages due to the destruction of their property during the demonstrations and were awarded damages amounting to K3.1 billion.
However, Mulli is now allegedly seeking to be paid an additional K8 billion in interests on the initial amount already paid.
But in the Thursday statement, Kajoloweka said he suspects this is another organised malfeasance to defraud the government, adding that Malawians deserve full disclosure on how this case has been handled.
Yesterday, Kajoloweka posted on his Facebook page, saying that Muli was threatening to kill him after the statement.
“Mr. Leston Mulli threatens to kill me! Following my organisation’s press statement yesterday questioning Mulli’s K12 billion claim from Government, Leston Muli called me on his mobile number +27 65 601 4275 at 8:43 this morning throwing all sorts of ‘f’ insults and threats.
In an interview, Kajoloweka confirmed the development and said he had already reported the matter to police in Mzuzu.
We could not independently confirm Kajoloweka’s claim that he had reported the matter to police as we could not reach Mzuzu Police spokesperson Paul Tembo on his mobile.
Kajoloweka alleged that what is happening is largely expected when dealing with people that are connected to government.
“We are going to continue demanding accountability. We will not be intimidated,” he said.
Governance and rights activist Makhumbo Munthali has since urged the police to start acting on such threats, observing that the law enforcers have for a long time given a blind eye to such threats.
“Death threats on human rights defenders should not just be simply dismissed on the basis that they may be an attempt by the individuals to appeal to public sympathy, but rather should be investigated and perpetrators should be brought to back.
“However, over the recent years we have continued to see the police giving a blind eye to allegations of death threats against human rights defenders, activists, journalists and some academics who comment on politics, especially if those implicated are linked to the ruling party,” Munthali said.
In an interview yesterday, Mulli fumed at Kajoloweka, wondering why he was making comments on a case which is still in court.
Said Mulli: “I am not a politician, my job is to create jobs and make money. I am running over 17 companies, and paying huge taxes to government. Can he [Kajoloweka] even employ 5 000 people? This matter was determined during the Joyce Banda rule, why did he not join it that time? Why is he making comments now?
“When the Joyce Banda regime decided not to give me business, where was he to challenge that? Why didn’t he march? The issue is still in court, and by making comments, does he want to prejudice the court? Has he become a judge himself?”
Meanwhile, the office of the Attorney General has said it will challenge the K8 billion claim from Mulli.
According to State advocate Neverson Chisiza, the State was challenging the claim as it had already settled about K3.1 billion in claims over the same case and that the case was old—having last been heard in court in 2013—and was finding it difficult to accept why it was being resuscitated.