By Jameson Chauluka
Hours after Youth And Society (YAS) gave the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) two days in which to pay back the K145 million believed to have been money from a dubious K2.8 billion police food contract, another group of activists has given President Peter Mutharika five days in which to act or face legal action.
The DPP has been under siege, especially President Mutharika who is specifically mentioned in a leaked investigative report of fraudulently benefiting from a K2.8 billion ($4 million) 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.
The Centre for Development of People, Human Rights Defenders Coalition and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation have engaged services of lawyers Kawelo lawyers who have written the President directly.
“We demand the immediate return of the money to the people to Malawi by making an immediate payment of the said sum of K145 million to the government of Malawi, five (5) days from the date hereof failing which a
civil suit will be commenced against you and the Democratic Progressive Party…,” reads the statement in part.
The letter says Mutharika was not exercising his Presidential duties when withdrawing the money fully aware of its source.
“The opening of the bank account and subsequent withdrawals of the money suspected to have come from a fraudulent transaction between Pioneer Investments and Malawi Police Service has nothing to do with the President’s immunity.”
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.
Youth And Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka came out early Wednesday demanding through his lawyers that the DPP to pay back the money in two days or face legal action.
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 to party secretary general Grazelder Jeffrey.
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 has denied any wrongdoing.
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.
It says the money was meant for the benefit of Malawians and that Mutharika’s cashing had nothing to do with being President of Malawi.