"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"
Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The money used to purchase US$300,000 cars and mansions while millions of Malawians went further into poverty
The United Democratic Front (UDF) has admitted that the K1.4 billion from various donors that was deposited into party chairman Bakili Muluzi’s personal account was used for UDF’s electoral campaign last year, and that one of the beneficiaries was President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Leader of UDF in Parliament George Mtafu made the admission Tuesday in the House when he raised a point of concern over the summoning of Muluzi by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to explain why and how the money ended in his account.
“These are the donations which were partly used in elections last year. It means that he who stood as a presidential candidate last year used part of this money. My worry is that there is an intentional sniffing into private accounts which has started,” said Mtafu.
He said under the laws of the country it is not an offence to receive donations and that under the Constitution everybody is entitled to a private life.
“It is only when public money has been stolen when it is an offence,” added Mtafu.
The ACB disclosed on Monday that it has summoned Muluzi to explain the money he deposited in his personal account during his 10-year tenure of office.
The former head of state is expected to answer questions and produce all original documents or certified true copies of documents in his possession or under his control in respect of transactions he had with the Republic of China (Taiwan), Libya, the Kingdom of Morocco, Rwanda and some foreign and local organisations.
But Chinese Embassy Counsellor Jimmy Wu said on Monday he was not aware of the money Taiwan is alleged to have given Muluzi as an individual, saying since there was a government to government cooperation, the money that came was for development programmes.
Mtafu, who also raised a concern over the arrest of Secretary to the Treasury Milton Kutengule and the impending arrest of former Education Minister Yusuf Mwawa, described the move on Muluzi as a “resurrection of harassment on the former head of state.”
Government did not comment on Mtafu’s concern in the House, but in an interview outside, Deputy Information Minister John Bande said government was happy that Mtafu made such a revelation because it shows that the ACB was not just witch-hunting.
“It shows that indeed some money meant for public use was put into personal use. This would make the job of the ACB easy because Mtafu has disclosed where the said money went,” he said.
Bande said it would be wrong to connect the money to Mutharika and other individuals who stood on a UDF ticket because during the campaign everybody, including the President, did not know where Muluzi was getting the funds for the campaign.
“The way I know the President, he is a man of principles and if he knew that the money was from donors he could not have accepted. Nobody knew where the money came from, it was personalised and went straight into his personal account and probably this time he has confided in Mtafu,” he said.
UDF spokesperson Sam Mpasu in a separate interview concurred with Mtafu that the money in Muluzi’s account was for the party’s campaign.
“There is no law which stops a party leader from seeking financial assistance for campaign. The money was for the party and Mutharika also benefited,” said Mpasu
Posted by Anti-Muluzi at 1:09 PM