Mulli risks losing National Bus Company: Simama schemes with Malawi VP Kachali

Malawi Vice President Khumbo Kachali and business magnet Bishop Ibrahim Simama are scheming  to snatch the country’s biggest bus company from business tycoon, Leston Mulli of Mulli Brothers Holdings, Nyasa Times can reveal.

The National Bus Company, was established under the Public Private Partnership following the demise of the state owned Shire Bus Lines Company. Mulli has over 70 percent majority shares in the company with Simama and government sharing between themselves the remaining 30 percent.

An audit report in Nyasa Times possession by Price Waterhouse, the firm has found Mulli guilty of withdrawing and transfering just over K300 million from the bus company to some of his business establishments.

The report accuses Mulli of making the transfers without the knowledge of the other shareholders in the company.

Mulli: Squeezed

Plot                                                           

However, sources claim the audit by Price Waterhouse was initiated by Simama after being contacted by the country’s Vice President Kachali.

It is alleged that Kachali wanted Mulli Brothers to be squeezed financially so that the company does not fund the 2014 Presidential and Parliamentary campaign of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its candidate Peter Wa Mutharika.

Amongst the plans to suffocate Mulli Brothers include the kicking out the company from National Bus completely.

Nyasa Times sources indicate that following the discussions between the Vice President and Simama, the self decorated Pentecostal pastor contacted National Bus’s company secretary Alick Msowoya to get the plot in motion.

The idea was to find Mulli guilty of irregular withdraws and money transfers and then kick him out of the company that he raised from its deathbed.

Following a meeting of shareholders to which Mulli was present, it was agreed to go ahead with the audit in order to establish the truth. However in the process of the audit, Price Waterhouse chief auditor in the National Bus issue, Edina Msisya , was under constant pressure through telephone calls and meetings with one of the shareholders, Bishop Simama.

It is reported that apart from financial rewards to nail Mulli,  Simama promised Msisya a brand new vehicle.

When contacted for comment, Msisya accepted receiving telephones from Simama and also meeting him in person. She however declined to disclose the nature of their discussions saying it’s not for public consumption.

However, a distinguished private auditor Nyasa Times has spoken to in Lilongwe said that if those allegations and conniving between Simama and Msisya are proven, it is very unethical and puts into question the credibility of the final audit report.

“In fact Mulli Brothers can challenge the contents of that audit report because if proven, it may be seen to be a way of trying kick out the company from National Bus where they have a majority of shares and also invested heavily from scratch,” said the reputable auditor who has also worked for international organisations.

He said it was unethical for auditors to be interacting with interested parties in the process of an audit in order to influence its final outcome.

When contacted, Ranwell Mbene, a partner in Price Waterhouse could not authorise an interview and refused to comment.

As for Simama, he confirmed that there was an audit at National Bus Company and that its final report is now out waiting for the shareholders to discuss.

The Vice President‘s office exonarted Kachali form the matter, saying it is “wild allegations.”

Speaking to Nyasa Times, Mulli shouted at this reporter saying he stopped speaking to the media about his business dealings.

“I stopped giving interviews to you reporters, ask those that have given you this information,” said Mulli.

Political connections                               

It is believed that Leston Mulli and his Mulli Brothers Company were very close to the administration of former late President Bingu Wa Mutharika. But following his death in April this year, Mulli Brothers has been put in a great fix as several of his government business contracts have been withdrawn or not rewarded at all despite offering competitive prices and having the capacity to deliver.

Government insiders say that instructions have been given to officials not to process any payments to Mulli on all already done jobs before 2014.

Ruling People’s Party spokesman Hophmally Makande also  said in astatement this week that Mulli Brothers capacity in supplying  in the subsidy programme  “was augmented by a corrupt system aided by dubious procurement bank facilities. “

According to Makande, the matters “are part of a forensic investigation and at an appropriate time those found in the wrong will be brought to book.”

Makande said: “It must be said categorically that Malawi must be a country of equal opportunities.”

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