In a sharp twist of events in the MonkeyBay fracas that cost two lives, six arrested suspects who set alight a chief’s house and smashed a car belonging to Traditional Athourity Nankumba have alleged that Member of Parliament for Mangochi Monkey Bay Ralph Jooma was the one hehind the whole fiasco.
The suspects currently, in police custody have collaborated that the ex-economic planning minister unilaterally wrote a letter against the coming investment of the 5 star hotel by conglomerate Mota Engil and Malawi Government in form of Private Public Partnership (PPP).
“Bwana Jooma analemba kalatayo okha onani chizungu chakecho …..(Hon Jooma wrote and signed the letter on his own without. Look at the language used. No chiefs signed it,” said one suspect when he was being taken a caution statement.
Quizzed on where he (Jooma) got the signatures of all top chiefs in the area, another suspect said it was a photocopy of an earlier attendance list where chiefs attended an area development meeting.
“I took it and photocopied at a business centre (name withheld) ….we took the last signed part, attached it to the letter that he wrote. We made copies and sent some to all copied offices including Mota Engil,” said the other.
Asked what was the motive by the MP to act this way when just four years ago he was one of the touters for the project, the other suspect said, the MP was feeling sidelined after being not invited to a consultative meeting where Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Kondwani Nankhumwa, ministry officials, district commissioner, chiefs, counsellors were present.
One source also collaborated the story of the suspects by indicating that the day of the fracas, TA Nankumba had called for the meeting to refute having written the letter let alone signing it.
The source said one of the members in the meeting suggested that the forged signatures and the letter be made a police case.
At this point one young man who was in the meeting left and went to make a call to other members of the anti-hotel investment group who stormed the meeting hall and started to smash windows of the hall and cars.
“Several of them smashed the windscreen of a vehicle belonging to Malawi Defence Force Navy department and in no time a contingent of army officers arrived. It was wild, people run in all direction,” said another source.
Police officials were overpowered, the army maintained the calmness according to onlookers.
Jooma was not available to comment on the matter.
Mota Engil released a statement indicating that it was shocked to learn of the developments in MonkeyBay.
“Mota Engil has learnt with deepest shock and dismay the incident that happened in Monkey Bay where in partnership with Malawi Government as form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) intends to construct a first world tourist attraction comprising a Five Star Hotel and an 18-Hole golf course,” said the statement made available to Nyasa Times.
“We can confidently state here that no Mota Engil official nor any staff was aware of or let alone present during the meeting or meetings we now learnt, were called by traditional chiefs to brief their people on the impending project. Apart from reading through the online media, we have not been officially briefed by our partners in this investment who is the Government of Malawi through the relevant ministries on what exactly happened.”
“We are shocked and saddened at the manner how the name of our company is being meddled into this fracas in MonkeyBay when the residents of the said areas know whom to contact if they had any discontentment,” said statement.
With the extent of what has happened in the area where investment would have put Malawi on world map as most preferred tourist destination, Mota Engil says it will come up with the way forward soon.
“The nation and good people of Malawi will be updated on our further position as soon as we get proper briefing from the Malawian authorities on this matter,” the company says in a statement.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :