Callista Mutharika under Malawi Police probe over ‘wrongful self-enrichment’

Fiscal Police are investigating the former first lady Callista Mutharika alleged financial abuses when she was operating under Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) on safemotherhood role, Nyasa Times understands.

Police source told Nyasa Times on Sunday evening that  Fiscal Police detectives were following leads over  newspaper report that  the taxpayers paid over K25 million in salaries and millions more in gratuity on the former first lady  to run her foundation instead of the Safe Motherhood and Early Childhood Development initiative she was being paid for.

“Investigations are underway on the matter,” Police source said.

Late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s widow is being probed  for ‘abuse of office’. She allegedly used her taxpayer-funded position to raise money for her foundation.

Callista Mutharika: Faces probe

Callista Mutharika: Faces probe

Callista was national coordinator Safe Motherhood and Early Childhood Development secretariat under OPC which the secretariat t is now called the  Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood.

Her successor at the secretariat Dorothy Ngoma told Nation on Sunday newspaper that  she found no record of the government initiative’s activities when she took over last year from Callista, who was national coordinator from May 1 2010 to about April 2012.

Ngoma  also argued that no handovers were made by the former First Lady  regarding any finances or programmes.

“We had no chairs, no money and even no documentation. I had to start from scratch,” she is quoted by the paper.

According to the report basing in bank statements, Callista—who operated two separate dollar and kwacha accounts at FMB Capital City Branch—was the accounts’ “sole proprietor.

The paper said the statement for the dollar account covering the period January 2009 and April 12 2012 named Callista Mutharika Safe Motherhood 2, the former first lady’s foundation had 11 credits (deposits or transfers into the account) totalling $355 343.81 (nearly K120.5 million at the present exchange rates)

On the other hand, by April 2012, this dollar account had 12 debits (money out) totalling $350 670.33 (about K119 million) at present exchange rates, leaving a balance of $4 673 (roughly K1.6 million) at current exchange rates).

Nation on Sunday reported that the account shows a lot of movements in cash, including foreign currency from external donors into the foundation’s dollar account. There are also movements from the dollar account into the kwacha account

During the same two-year period, the kwacha account had 56 credits totalling K40 864 267.43—including $30 000 [K10.2 million]—transferred from the dollar account. The kwacha account’s debits a mounted to K36 617 177.82.

At one event on July 18 2010, the foundation raised K20 million, with former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika donating K7 million, Mulli Brothers K3.5 million, Zain Malawi (now Airtel) K2 m and several other cash donations from Mota-Engil and Countrywide Car Hire.

Oil explorer Surestream at some point donated nearly $60 000 (about K20.4 million) to the foundation directly into the dollar account, according to the bank accounts we have seen

As a national coordinator, Callista was on government payroll, carting home K1 138 000 (US$a month (over K25 million in the two years at the helm[US$76,923])—more than Cabinet ministers at the time who were being paid K800 000 (US$2,461) as gross salary.

 

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