Simama tussles Mulli over bus company: ‘He bankrolls DPP, Mulakho’

Bishop Abraham Simama, one of the shareholders of National Bus Company (NBC), says he wants the firm’s majority shareholder and Chairperson Leston Mulli to be ousted because he uses NBC money to fund opposition DPP and Mulakho wa Alomwe grouping.

Speaking in a telephone interview with a Nyasa Times correspondent, Simama said he will fight “tooth and nail” to remove the bus company’s main shareholder and chairperson Mulli because, according to him, he bankrolls Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Lomwe grouping.

“Mulli uses money from National Bus Company to fund DPP and Mulhakho,” claimed Simama.

But Mulli told Nyasa Times that the claims were “false-hearted.”

Leston Mulli: Let Simama bring his grievances to the board

Mulli expressed surprise with the claims, saying “if he (Simama) has issues with me then he should table them to the board.”

Simama has been battling to remove Mulli and earlier dragged him to court for allegedly drawing the money illegally.

The bus company’s shareholders, structured under a Public Private Partnership (PPP), are as follows: Mulli Brother Limited -MBL (68.52 percent), Simama (19.72 percent) and Malawi Government—representing taxpayers—11.76 percent.

A reconciliation audit the bus company board commissioned in July 2012 to investigate suspected irregular transactions at the bus company recommended that MBL pay back at least K267.2 million to the bus company.

The local billionaire reportedly withdrew the money in the last three years during which time the company failed to declare dividends to its shareholders.

Mulli admitted to drawing K277.5 million but laughed off suggestions of fraud.

In recent months, MBL—the country’s largest family owned conglomerate and multinational with strong ties to the former Bingu wa Mutharika regime—has faced a number of financial pressures from its creditors.

Mulli made a public confession that his company is facing financial challenges because government was refraining from doing business with them.

The company has stakes in transport, agriculture, tourism, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications, among others, and enjoyed multi-billion government businesses under the Mutharika regime.

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