Some unnamed people have reported Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to probe him for a donation he made in his constituency.
Nankhumwa, legislator for Mulanje Central, was recently queried by commentators to disclose the source of funds for the donation of an ambulance, 300 bicycles and two motorbikes he made to his constituents.
ACB director general Lucas Kondowe, in an interview yesterday, confirmed the bureau received a complaint against Nankhumwa, but said it was going to be premature to discuss the complaint.
“At a right time, when we have looked into the matter or done our investigations, we will come to you and tell you about the whole thing. It will not be proper to discuss this now,” Kondowe said.
Nankhumwa, without elaborating, said he was aware some people have reported him to ACB.
“The whole issue is political, but this is not the way to fight people you don’t like. I have everything, receipts and documents, to prove my innocence. I have nothing to fear and I wish ACB summoned me yesterday,” he said.
The minister, who was in Blantyre yesterday, displayed to Nation on Sunday receipts and documents relating to the purchase of the items in question.
He said the ambulance that people are talking about was bought from United Kingdom for 2 700 pounds (K2.7 million) through a friend.
“Ambulances, if people do not know, are imported duty-free. For the bicycles, I have been planning and saving funds for a long time to assist party members from my constituency. The bicycles cost me K10 million after discounts, and I bought them from Farmers World.
“The motorbikes, which I bought for police in my constituency, cost me K10 million. This is something any MP or minister, with proper plan and a heart to assist their constituencies can afford,” said Nankhumwa.
He said he had no problems with well-meaning Malawians taking issues to ACB, but argued that what is at issue is whether such people genuinely do so based on substance, or out of malice.
“I am more than willing to cooperate with the bureau at any time they may require my presence. I am not a criminal to run away from questioning.
“It will be up to the ACB to weigh where there is merit or not in what they have. I am happy for what I did, I love my people, they were using an old pickup for an ambulance and I needed to do something for them,” Nankhumwa said.
The minister said he wanted to remain silent on the matter because going public about such things would have been wrongly interpreted as bragging about his wealth.
Said Nankhumwa: “Apart from being an MP or a Cabinet minister, I have a right to run businesses just like any other Malawian. I have a radio station, Mzati FM, which is doing well businesswise. I also have maize mills, among other businesses.
“It is, therefore, too illogical to conclude that Nankhumwa cannot afford this and that, only so and so can. It is high time Malawians rejected this disease of looking down upon others.
“There are people who knew me as Nankhumwa, an employee of MBC [Malawi Broadcasting Corporation], with nothing much to show for. But people must accept life has stages; we cannot all go through the same stages and we must humbly accept realities this life offers.”
Those who spoke to media and demanded Nankhumwa to be accountable included Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) executive director Dalitso Kubalasa and University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political scientist Mustapha Hussein. n