A citizen-led initiative to help build and ensure public accountability has put together a dossier of President Peter Mutharika’ special adviser Ben Phiri showing he has become an instant billionaire after paying K100 million mortgage in four months on the four properties he has bought in posh Area 10 location in the capital Lilongwe.
According to the dossier, Phiri has bought five properties in Area 10 and buses from South Africa.
The properties were bought through National Bank of Malawi and he paid K100 million in four months.
Phiri is being suspected of wrongful self-enrichment and the dossier wants an investigation on whether he is being fronted by President Mutharika or his own ‘cashgate’ affair.
Senior Advisor to the President on Strategy and Communication, Bright Malopa, was the first to raise an alarm as he reportedly wrote President Mutharika informing the Head of State that his youthful PA allegedly extorts huge sums of money from rich Asians, Nigerians, Rwandese and Burundians “in exchange for appointments with the President and government contracts”.
Malopa expressed worry that Ben Phiri has grown so much into himself and that he refuses to take advice from anyone, including the Chief of Staff (Peter Mukhito) on crucial State House matters.
In Malopa’s communication to the Head of State, it was revealed that Ben Phiri bosses over all cabinet ministers and elected members of the DPP National Governing Council (NGC).
A watchdog called Independent Commission on Accountability and Transparency (iCAT) is said to gather more information on Phiri’s mind boggling wealth. He banks locally and in United Arab Emirates.
The watchdog is wondering how Phiri has amassed a spectacular fortune and property portfolio in one year being at State House, while earning a modest civil servant salary.
Icat was launched by law barrister Allan Z. Ntata and social-political activist Ben Chiza Mkandawire.
According to Ntata, who had previously worked at Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and also served as late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s legal advisor, Icat is there to ensure to promote transparency, accountability, integrity and access to information at all levels of society in the fight against graft in Malawi.
Ntata claims Phiri wields considerable influence over Mutharika and that he is a de facto appointing authority and self –styled ‘Prime Minister.’
Phiri is also said to be manipulating Chief Secretary to Office of President and Cabinet, George Mkondiwa. The two however, travelled together to Britain last week.
The remarkable growth of Phiri’s assets, fuel further speculation about his abuse of State House position to accumulate his wealth.
“There is no way a single, honest person in high office can manage to acquire such wealth like Phiri, other than through corruption,” the dossier notes in part.
Malawi is reeling from a mass corruption scandal christened as Cashgate which London based auditors Baker Tilly revealed about K13 billion was lost from 2012.
About K92 billion was lost from 2005.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :