BLANTYRE—As pervasive graft involving senior government officials continues to shackle innocent Malawians, the citizens have been further ridiculed and left in depth of despair with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) report implicating Malawi leader Peter Mutharika as a beneficiary of fraudulent deal involving Malawi Police Services and Pioneer Investment.
According, to ACB dossier in possession of Malawian Watchdog, Mutharika pocketed K145 million from the shady deal despite him being aware of the fraudulent act that led to the availability of the said money in his account.
The report indicates that Malawi Police Services awarded a contract to Pioneer Investment to supply 500 000 ration packs and the company charged K2, 327, 087, 500.00 putting each pack at K3995.00.
“On 24th July 2015 MPS IPC wrote ODPP seeking no objection to award a contract to Pioneer Investment to supply 500 000 ration packs at the contract sum of Mk2,327,087,500. Each ration pack was charged MK3,995.00,” reads the report.
The company is owned by Zameer Karim, according to the report.
However, on 10th August 2015, 6 days after signing the contract, Zameer Karim wrote Mr. G. I. Bottoman, the Director of Finance requesting for upward price adjustment of the contract by 20%. Pioneer Investment cited depreciation of Malawi Kwacha against United States Dollar (USD) as a reason for price adjustment. However, between 4th to 6th August 2015 the percentage of depreciation of Malawi Kwacha against USD was 1.6%.
On 17th August 2015, Mr. Bottoman on his own without approval of MPS IPC and OCPP, approved 20% upwards price adjustment to Pioneer Investment. Each ration pack was adjusted from MK3,995.00 to MK4,795.00. The total contract was adjusted from MK2,327,087,500.00 to MK2,793,047,500.00. The difference is MK446,000,000.00.
According to the report, the addition money (k446,000,000.00) was shared between Pioneer Investment and other top MPS officials including Innocent Bottoman, the Director of Finance.
However, upon receiving the money, Karim, the owner of Pioneer Investment deposited K145,000,000 into the Standard Bank account of the Democratic Progressive Party of which Peter Mutharika is the sole signatory of the account.
“On 13th April 2016, Zameer Karim ensued a cheque from Pioneer Investment account to National Bank worth MK145,000,000.00 and instructed the bank to depost the said amount into Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Account domiciled at Standard Bank. Its account number is 014003192200,” reads the report.
The report further indicates that Mutharika is the one who opened the said bank account in 2015 and he is the sole signatory of the account and from January to October 2016, Mutharika made cheque withdrawals amounting to MK65,000,000.00 from the said Standard Bank account.
In their recommendations, the graft bursting body ordered the prosecution of all individuals involved expect Mutharika who is currently being protected by the constitution.
“In the meantime, His Excellency Peter Mutharika should not be prosecuted in accordance with section 91 (2) of the constitution of the Republic of Malawi,” the report reads.
The Mutharika’s involvement in the corruption scandal comes barely a month after Vice President Saulos Chilima called for repeal of the law which guaranteed immunity for Head of State from prosecution during their term of office, saying the president should face criminal proceedings for his actions.
According to Chilima, who is on record of saying corruption levels in government has reached ‘embarassing levels,’ said giving immunity to President from criminal prosecution gives the presidency licence to commit corrupt crimes.
Chilima said it did not make sense for an employee of citizens not to be charged or prosecuted for criminal acts carried out during the period of employment while employers, Malawians, did not enjoy such a luxury.
“This provision is a licence for the presidency to conduct corrupt practices knowing he would not be prosecuted. I am calling for an amendment to this section in the constitution if we are to truly fight corruption in this country,” he said as quoted by The Nation newspaper.
The second coming into power by DPP has exacerbated the abuse of public resources by self-selecting political and public elites with dispiriting impunity.
Meanwhile, the economy is sluggard, uncompetitive and exploitative. The poor become poorer as the rich become mega rich overnight.