Youth And Society (YAS), a Mzuzu based rights group, has given the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) two days in which to pay back the K145 million it benefited from a dubious K2.8 billion ($3.8 million) police food contract.
The DPP has been under siege, especially President Peter Mutharika who is specifically mentioned in a leaked investigative report of fraudulently benefiting from a near K2.8 billion government contact.
The K145 million from Pioneer Investments – the firm that won the food contract — was deposited into a DPP account for which the President is the sole signatory.
However, Mutharika early this month described the accusations as “fake news” as part of a ploy to smear him ahead of a national election next year.
But YAS executive director , Charles Kajoloweka, is not buying that. He has asked the DPP , through his lawyers, to pay back the money in two days or face legal action.
Through their lawyer Bright Theu of Ritz attorneys at law, YAS is demanding the DPP to pay back to public coffers the sum of K145 million, failing which they have asked the party to within two days indicate how they intend to repay the money.
From Pioneer Investments, YAS is demanding a refund of K466 million plus compound interest or face similar legal consequences similar to the DPP.
“We have instructions from Youth And Society (YAS), a duly registered non-government organisation (our client) to demand a refund of the sum of MWK145,000,000 (One Hundred and Fourty-Five Million Malawi Kwacha) paid by Pioneer Investment by cheque No. 000043 dated 13 April 2016 to the account indicated in subject line. We demand that the refund be made to the Government of Malawi,” reads the letter of demand from Bright Theu of Ritz Associates written to the party’s secretary general Grazelder Jeffrey.
The demand letter gives the party two days in which to respond or face court action
“Please note that unless the sum of MWK145 million is repaid to a Government account and evidence of the same is provided to us on behalf of YAS; or you indicate to us how you intend to repay the said sums within 2 days hereof, we have instructions to take necessary steps to recover what rightfully and beneficially belongs to the people of Malawi,” reads the letter.
The country’s anti-graft body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, has been investigating a K2.8 billion Malawi police food supply contract awarded to Pioneer Investments – a firm owned by an Asian-born Malawian businessman Zameer Karim.
Karim denied wrongdoing. “My company was awarded the contract after a rigorous process so I don’t see any wrongdoing,” he said.
ACB director general Reneck Matemba has said that a foreign investigator has been hired to investigate the leak and that investigation is not yet over.