BLANTYRE—Malawi leader Peter Mutharika is facing criticisms from the international donor community following his alleged involvement in the Malawi police fraud, in which he pocketed K145 million.
The European Union (EU) and the United States (US) in Malawi have said they expect that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will pursue investigations in relation to suspected fraud in a Malawi Police Service (MPS) contract without any interference.
A leaked document of investigations by ACB on the contract between MPS and Pioneer Investments implicated President Peter Mutharika as having benefitted from what the graft-busting body suspects were fraudulent transactions in the contract.
Pioneer Investments owner, Zameer Karim, allegedly deposited K145 million into a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account whose sole signatory is Mutharika a day after he had deposited K2,793,087,500 to his account after obtaining the money using MPS as a guarantor.
In separate responses to Times’ questionnaires, EU Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann and his US counterpart Virginia Palmer have both said fighting corruption successfully is essential for Malawi to achieve its development goals.
Gerrmann, whose institution funded the first-ever high-level National Anti-Corruption Conference last year, has described the ACB’s findings as serious, saying they should be further investigated.
He said: “We hope and expect that the ACB will pursue the investigation/case(s) fully and without interference. Fighting corruption successfully is essential for Malawi to reach its development goals, improve public service delivery and attract investment.”
Gerrmann and Palmer have also called for the immediate enactment of the Political Parties Act, which was passed last December, and full implementation of improvements to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act passed in June 2017.
Palmer said: “This is a matter for the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate…Freedom from corruption is essential for Malawi to achieve its development goals and the goals of prosperity and security which the United States supports.”
ACB Director General, Reyneck Matemba, told Monday’s edition of The Daily Times that, even though the leakage will obviously affect investigations and put pressure on potential witnesses, the bureau is determined to ensure the matter reaches a logical conclusion.
He said the leakage had happened even before internal processes within the institution had been concluded.
The graft-busting body suspects that Pioneer Investments fraudulently supplied food rations to MPS where the bill was inflated from the actual contract price of K2.327 billion to K2.8 billion following a letter that Karim wrote MPS then director of finance, Innocent Bottoman, on August 4 2015.
Among other things, the report, dated May 4 2018, recommended that Bottoman and Karim should be prosecuted for allegedly defrauding the Malawi Government and acquiring proceeds of crime totalling K1.4 billion, apart from recommending that they should be charged for allegedly forging and uttering false documents.
It indicates that Pioneer Investments won a tender to supply 500,000 ration packs to MPS for a total contract sum of K2,327,087,500. The contract was signed on August 4 2015.
Both Bottoman and Karim claim to have no knowledge of any fraudulent transactions in the contract.