Exclusive: Why DPP cadres want to control  Malawi conglomerate Press Corp

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elite is so desperate for party financing that it has turn to sink its claws into conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL) to turn it into its financing machine, Nyasa Times can reveal.

Prof Mwanza: Appointed in PCL board

Prof Mwanza: Appointed in PCL board

Malawi News reported that some DPP stalwarts have been appointed into the PCL board with the aim of controlling its finances and diverting them to fund the beleaguered ruling party.

Architect Ben Chidyaonga who is DPP Director of Logistics and a former cabinet minister during the late Bingu Mutharika regime and member of the DPP party Professor Peter Mwanza have been appointed into the PCL board of directors which many analysts see as the party repositioning itself to turn the conglomerate as a financing machine.

The two were trustees at Press Trust, a majority shareholder of PCL with 44.47% shareholding, and their two six-year consecutive term expired in July 2015 but they still clung to their positions while DPP strategists found a way of letting them into the Press system by appointing them into the PCL board.

Nyasa Times managed to secure an exclusive interview with one of the current trustees on the condition of anonymity to shed more light in what is happening in the whole Press Trust/PCL saga.

“It is indeed true that my former colleagues and trustees namely Mr. Ben Chidyaonga and Prof Peter Mwanza have been appointed into the PCL board of Directors. In fact Mr. Chidyaonga takes his post from April 1, 2016 to replace Director Dr Bernard Zingano while Prof Mwanza goes to PCL board sometime in June to replace the Symon Itaye as director on the PCL board,” said the trustee.

“We have appointed lawyer Meyer Chisanga and Wilson Chirwa, a Surveyor, to replace our two collegues as trustees,” added the trustee.

But there was controversy for Chidyaonga and Mwanza to leave Press Trust after the two clung to their positions although, legally, their terms had expired.

Section 6 (a) of PTRA specifically stipulates that the total number of trustees appointed at any one time shall be seven individuals who shall comprise a Board of Trustees and that if the number shall fall below seven, the remaining trustees cannot conduct any Trust business except that of appointing a new Trustee or Trustees until the number is once again seven.

But Chidyaonga and Mwanza continued attending meetings and performing functions as trustees of Press Trust with total disregard of the law.

The two only left Press Trust almost 9 months after they were supposed to retire.

They were first appointed Trustees in July 2003 on a six year term and were re-appointed in July 2009 on the last six year term according to Section 6(h) (iii).

But why ‘transferring’ the two trustees who  are also influential politicians in the ruling party to PCL?

“DPP are struggling to get a stable financier because of the recent exposé of cashgate and that is why they are turning to PCL to finance the party. They were having difficulties in getting the money here at Press Trust because this institution is governed by the Press Trust Reconstruction Act (PTRA) of 1995. It would be easier to manipulate issues at PCL since there will be more members who will be representing the interests of Press Trust, where these two are coming from,” said the trustee.

Currently directors who are nominated or represent the interests of Press Trust on the PCL board include Simon Itaye who is the current Chairman of the PCL board, Patrick Mhango who is the Executive Secretary for Press Trust and Dr Bernard Zingano, a Chartered Architect, while Chris Kapanga, a Chartered Insurer represents interests of Old Mutual which holds 13.5% shares in PCL while Andrew Barron, an experienced farmer and investor is an independent director on the board.

“So when they replace Mr. Itaye and Dr Zingano with Prof Mwanza and Mr. Chidyaonga plus the vote of Mr. Mhango they will be able to control things there and get their way, which is why they have been appointed directors at PCL. They could not have done that here (Press Trust),” said the trustee.

Insiders confided in Nyasa Times that the new board would like to ‘control and take charge’ first with the appointment of PCL new Group Chief Executive Officer following the retirement of Dr Matthews Chikaonda who is leaving the conglomerate in December this year after 14 years in charge.

The PCL board hired private financial advisory firm, KPMG to recruit the new Group Chief Executive Officer for PCL and flighted adverts of the same in February this year and they are yet to identify a person to take over from Chikaonda.

“They would want to control who goes to PCL as Group Chief Executive Officer. It has to be their own person and that is why there are all these changes within this short period of time. The board will have to endorse the candidate and that is why Mr. Chidyaonga is taking his position as early as April 1, 2016,” revealed the trustee.

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18 thoughts on “Exclusive: Why DPP cadres want to control  Malawi conglomerate Press Corp”

  1. Taweni says:

    This is why Parliament must intervene at Press Trust to safeguard the investment on behalf of the people of Malawi. Parliament created Press Trust so they should not stand aloof and watch while vultures are lingering around. A rabid tiger is lingering around in order to pounce.

    Citizen

  2. MERCEDES says:

    I THINK PETER WAS SAYING HE IS SUPER RICH NOW WHERE IS THE SUPER RICH MONEY AND WHERE IS THE MONEY WHICH BINGU LEFT IT WHEN HE DIED THATS WHY OUR COUNTRY DOESNT DEVELOP KUZOLOWERA KUBA AND THATS WHY DONORS ARE NO MORE INTERESTED TO GIVE MALAWI AID VERY SAD EH!

  3. Dziko says:

    One thing is for sure we need to know the composition of the PCL board members, have these so called DPP sympathisers been taken on board as non executive or executive board members. Otherwise if it is the latter,their influence wouldnt bull doze the running of the PCL conglomerates, especially if Simon Itaye is at the helm.

  4. Bwampini Jnr says:

    Mmalawi if you believe that this is a mere coincidence and Ben Chidyaonga will be very professional then you are a big fat fool. PT knows they could not do this during the time of Professor Chikaonda . Big up Prof .. They waited for you to leave then start this nonsense. They were afraid of you.PCL is finished. The top executives better rethink their survival strategy. This is a rOUTE to squander the conglomerate and spoil the hard work of many years. Nayenso Mhango achenjere you think you will be there forever? Itaye is the best brains in Malawi you think he can be replaced by Mwanza or Chidyaonga and that makes sense. Only in Malawi and only to you Mmalalawi.

  5. Wanga ndi yemweyo says:

    If you think an individual cannot influence proceedings in a board, you have never been in one. And here we are talking of two. Those of us who have served in some boards are feeling uncomfortable with this set up. One day, when you come to know what happens, you too will become uncomfortable.

  6. Tt says:

    Please some of these people need to go home and retire, look at this guy mwanza! Looks like a dinosaur, really! Prof mwanza, it’s time to go home now…..

  7. Hope says:

    But some people are trouble makers! Please tell us,if Chidyaonga and Mwanza have served at Press Trust(majority shareholder of PCL) for over a decade does that not mean that DPP has “had its claws” in PCL all this time if this conspirancy theory is to be believed.And if that is the case,why is it so pertinent to bring this matter to light only now when Chikaonda is about to leave? I’ll tell you why,its because of sour grapes!Somebody is not getting what they want,so they want to cause confusion.Some people have no shame! There are people at Press who are even more blue than Chidyaonga/Mwanza.But this is Malawi,and as we all know blue people can also be orange or yellow or even green depending on who is ruling at that particular time,so please dont waste our time with cheap politicking and palace intrigues!

  8. dee kay says:

    so you mean Ndata Trust is not giving you enough zakuba? Now you are clawing on Press Trust. Zanutu apa zikukukanikani kuyamba

  9. Godwin says:

    Ambuye alowererepo……
    What happened to MDC….Admarc and other companies which had ties with Dpp ???
    We really need God fearing politicians to rule this country,… Even the presidential advisor on religious issues are not doing anything….as they cannot crticise the hand that is feeding them….
    God help us and help Malawi !!!

  10. Mpalasa says:

    Our only hope remains with the donors and development partners. As far as Muthalika and DPP are concerned their only mission is to loot state resources and nothing else. It is sad to see a leader who has no love for his country. He never spoke against corruption because he knows that is the machinery that feeds his ego. The only other hope we have is for this corrupt man go by way of prophesy by Joshua. we can hardly wait.

  11. Kadakwiza says:

    Malawians are watching very close

  12. Jane Banda says:

    Keep this article it will be enough evidence in future of a prophecy
    Chidyaonga integrity levels very questionable and that’s why you call him a proffessional

  13. Myao says:

    Therere will remain Therere and mmalawi will remain mmalawi, kupusa kwambiri. Mbatata ikakhota simawongokanso and thats DPP for you. By the way, how old are you, my problem is having the likes of mwanza still being allowed to play kitty with our funds at his age, olo manyazi ayi ndithu.

  14. Gerald mapanga phiri says:

    Malawi political parties are addicted to loot. What we are seeing is that, the politicians are so deformed to reform

  15. Nangantani says:

    Those saying these guys are not going to influence decisions of the board are naive or party to these machinations. Boardroom politics can be very dirty. One of these guys may turn out to be the next chair of the board of pcl and the chair of a board wields alot of power in board decisions – can influence firing of CEO if the CEO happens to be a straight guy or resists the Chair’s machinations.

  16. mjomba welewo says:

    Whether they will be siphoning money or not but am scared with that name of dpp. take not PCL,you will be finished very soon. ask ADMARC,MDC and other companies.

  17. mmalawi says:

    Bad article written in bad faith. Firstly these two gentlemen are not only qualified professionals but also bring wealth experience having served as PTA Trustees as we hear from you. Secondly the people who will continue representing PTA on PIL Board are respected professionals and it’s an insult for you to insinuate that they will be manipulated to serve interests of DPP. Thirdly PIL CEO will be recruited through KPMG. How will DPP play a role in picking. Thank you for remembering that Prof Mwanza is from the North. Otherwise you were about to say DPP has picked the PIL Board members nepotistically.

  18. therere says:

    these two are professional people, everyone has a party he/she supports i dont think they can influence the whole board to dance to their tune.

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