The dollar sign joke: Muckraking on Malawi Pres. Mutharika’s assets ‘correction’

“It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see” -Henry David Thoreau

So how much is Peter Mutharika worth? Is it US $8.2 million or US $2 million?

President Mutharika

President Mutharika

Christopher Tukula, the Assets Director, came back to correct the figures his own office released and told us our president is actually not yet a kwacha billionaire.

I do not think we should allow Tukula to get away with murder. Surely he should not get away with just explaining that his office mis-read the dollar sign.

Really? No, Chris, no, we deserve better than that; we must be a joke of a nation to accept such tosh.

Look, Tukula should have realised that he was handling very sensitive information. He must have known that, with the recent revelations that some people were playing Monopoly with our taxes, what was in the declaration forms of public officers’ assets was of utmost importance.

As a journalist I would be the last to advocate for the withholding of information but I will also be the last to entertain half-baked information.

Why was the Assets chief rushing into releasing information he had not yet verified? He claims that the mistake came about because State House delivered the President’s declaration forms in hand-written form.

Well, he may not be a hand-writing expert but surely one must be high on something not exactly legal to mistake the dollar ($) sign with the figure eight (8). Let us imagine the President indicated the money in his US account was US $2 million. Maybe he is not familiar with the dollar symbol but surely Tukula is intelligent enough to understand that ‘US’ stands for United States. US8 million should surely have left him askance.

Or maybe the form just indicated $2 million without the ‘US’ prefixed. How could he just assume the money was dominated in US dollars and not any other currency?

And where did he get the point to denote US $8.2 million? Why did he not quote the figure as US $82 million if indeed he mistook the dollar sign as the figure 8? It just does not add up.

And this was not the only mistake on the President’s forms. There was one vehicle, a Merc, which the Assets Directorate said it cost Peter US $25,000,000. C’mon, good people, what was the man who would be our president in the US again? Some Madonna or Tom Cruise? Was the Merc an armoured one or a jet?

These, by the way, could have been honest mistakes to be fair to Tukula. But why was this excitement in releasing unverified raw data? I thought his office’s role is to collect information on various public officers’ assets, synthesise, scrutinise and verify such information?

Surely such amazing figures should have raised some eye-brows. If it was State House or his office that made these mistakes that should have been cleared before making the information public. After all Tukula himself told us some public officers did not understand the declaration forms and that he would send the forms back for them to fill them properly.

So what was the rush in releasing some public officers’ data when his office was still computing others? What if my interest was not on the President, the Vice President, the former president or the Leader of Opposition? What if my interest was on some obscure MP who did not understand the forms? Would it have made any sense for Tukula to tell me that that MP was still correcting his forms when some officers’ details were already in the public arena?

Tukula may argue that it was the media and other interested parties that requested the information. That is correct. But people were looking for correct information. He would not have been committing any crime had he politely and honestly told them his office was still scrutinising the information.

(By the way, by ‘correct’ information I mean as those declaring such information intended them to read. For some reason some public officers could have inflated or under-declared their assets. That, I think, is the proper reading of the term ‘raw’ information. Tukula’s job is to verify whether such ‘raw’ information is reflective of the true picture. Releasing such ‘raw’ but ‘correct’ information to the public may help him ascertain this.)

I hope Tukula realises that his premature release of the wrong data has informed a wrong national narrative. For starters, the President’s apologists already leapt to his defence, saying it was not strange for a professor teaching in the United States for 40 years to accumulate US $8.2 million. And yet his detractors were speculating that Peter deliberately inflated his wealth so that if he steals from government nobody should question if he suddenly becomes fabulously rich.

And yet another school of thought was of the view that State House realised that US $8.2 million was an unbelievable figure for a college professor, be they teaching in Zomba or Washington, and twisted Tukula’s arm to admit the computing faux pas to save the President’s face.

All these narratives do not do the President’s image any good at all.

By the way, with such ‘expensive’ mistakes on information of so important a personage, how do we begin to trust information on the declared assets of the other lowly public officers? How do we begin to have faith in an office so important that can make mistakes so careless?

No, Tukula’s explanation is as empty as it does not make sense. He must apologise to the President and the entire nation for releasing wrong data. And if we were a serious nation we should have been demanding his immediate resignation before he makes further ‘expensive’ mistakes.

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72 thoughts on “The dollar sign joke: Muckraking on Malawi Pres. Mutharika’s assets ‘correction’”

  1. Good show tenthani. Thz muthalikaz amafuna adzitibela in the name of kuphunzira kwambiri. Only genius can understand what tenthan is tryng to unfold here. Mr presdent, we need our leave grants as soon as posible.

  2. omwale says:

    Zamkutu,the guy z incomptent

  3. Mngoni says:

    Lemme start with you poor dunderhead calling yourself attorney general, I find your reasoning and logic very retrogressive and archaic, you are the guys failing Malawi. If the country continue inhabiting poor minds like yours I guess, no hope for the rise of Malawi. Tell me if its an oath so does it mean the asserts director is not supposed to make further examination if the data/information he is revealing to the general public is true or false? If you do not have any ideas it is better for you to stay quiet rather than making some unnecessary noise just exposing what an empty tin you are upstairs!
    Coming to you old fashioned Auditor, your comment seem to lack substance, imagine telling us that they release information just as officers! Officers my foot, you can’t even feel sorry for that shameful comment, don’t you know that these fucken officers are paid for what ever they do. Do you think they are working on voluntary basis, big shame on you, tukula is professional and as a country we expect nothing less but a quality and clean job, we can’t sit by to listen to nosense apologies, do we really dream good for this nation.
    You guys are very pathetic, so what do you have for the nation yourself if not busy judging good work of your friends. Please write your stuff we should read and analyse your ideas if there is anything we can grab from you, Dunderfools.
    Bravo Ralph……!!!!!!

  4. KARU UNITED says:

    Either the office bearer, of the office of the Director of Assets declarations is also crooked or extremely naive.Is he not the same person who brushed shoulders with the ACB,for allegedly misleading his clients? As country,i wish we had more men of integrity like:Roosevelt Gondwe, Hon.Dunstan Mwaungulu or the No nonsense resident magistrate Viva Nyimba,Gustave Kaliwo or Meyer Chisanga,or the job should have gone to a chartered accountant,like the new kid on the block LUCAS KONDOWE,Lucas for president 2019!

  5. Arrows says:

    Walephera ncthito Tukulayo ayitule pansi basi

  6. attorney general says:

    Wait a minute Mr Dumb Muckraker? Have you read the Asset Declaration Act yourself before coming into this public space to advise the Assets Office on how they should do their job?Do you know that the declarations are an oath?Officers made these declarations under oath.What does an oath mean?What do you mean the assets office should release raw but correct information? The office is there to release the information which the officer himself declared under oath.What is the point of the oath then if the declaration is subject to another scrutiny and correction before being released? Don’t confuse people.Previously what people declared remained hidden. Now people can access it because it’s an oath.And even an oath can also be corrected.Verification is an entirely different exercise.

    1. M23 says:

      Who is dumb here, the Muckraker or the self proclaimed Attorney General? When you make a declaration under oath all you are saying is that the information provided according to your knowledge is true. Should it later transpire that you lied you could be prosecuted. It is for this reason that Assets Declarations Office should make sure that the information released to the public is exactly what was declared by the public officer in question. Should the information prove incorrect, let the blame be on the public officer and not the office of assets declarations. I as well do not buy that the assets of APM appeared to be over-declared due to misreading of the $ sign. This is a lame excuse. We are talking of lawyers here who you can’t fool when it comes to money. There is no way lawyers can mistake the $ sign for an 8. What about the vehicles declared? Do you also buy the values assigned to them? I can only believe the excuse being made if I see the handwritten copy of the declaration form. After all, seeing is believing.

  7. auditor says:

    Point of Order Mr Tenthani:They said they are releasing the information just as raw as officers declared it to the declaration office so that if there are any inconsistencies people may report them.Verification will follow later.If they have to verify before releasing this info when will the verification end for all the declared assets.A Tenthani osamangonamiza wanthu apa.

  8. Concerned citizen says:

    but guys what about a decimal it possible to have a decimal point just after a dollar sign.This Tukula thing saw a decimal point somewhere.

  9. Kasparov says:

    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you realise why. Tenthani was born to rescue hapless malawians. Don’t attempt to do anything to bring him down. That will be mission impossible, because God is watching your every move.

  10. Yosefe Gambatula says:

    This self imposed man should simply resign to save his face.Malawi has totally lost trust in him apart from his stooge loyalist Ben Phiri and his Lomwe cohorts surrounding him.Mbendera anatibweletsera mavuto kwabasi pa Malawi.We never voted for this thief.

  11. Dambudzo mwasanya says:

    Sleepy Malawi is led by mafias.Naye mzake Saulos on houses,it was declared that he has several houses.Zokanika ndikuwerengera.Keep on ripping off this tiny stupid impoverished country with docile people like domesticated chicken who like crawling to opportunist claiming to be our politician.

  12. Thabo Tembo says:

    This guy needs to go, simple!.

  13. Enough says:

    Where is John Msonthi and operation bwezani?????

  14. Gays says:

    Did he read the report about his wealth before it was released?………. this is a very important question.

  15. Mathanyula says:

    Credibility out the window!!!!!!. Now you expect civil servants to do what????? yeah we will continue cooking the books. It will be worse than CASHGATE, DPP government brace yourselves. If State House can’t be trusted then what are civil service reforms for?????

  16. Gays in Malawi says:

    I told you they are a bunch of gangsters. USD8.2 million is what Mathanyula hopes to steal 5 years.

  17. English Guru says:

    so who made the mistake? is it tukula himself who misread the dollar sign for an eight? if so, then he is grossly incompetent and needs to resign forthwith! a simple bank deposit slip has a section where after writing an amount in figures, you have to write it in words to avoid these very mistakes. does it mean the declaration form does not have a section where you have to confirm figures in words?

    then there is the issue of the decimal point, where has it magically disappeared to? there are just too many questions without answers and i think that makes tukula’s position untenable. he simply has to go.

    finally, personally i agree with this school of thought as quoted from the 17th paragraph of the article, which strengthens my belief that this was a grand plan to swindles us senseless: And yet another school of thought was of the view that State House realised that US $8.2 million was an unbelievable figure for a college professor, be they teaching in Zomba or Washington, and twisted Tukula’s arm to admit the computing faux pas to save the President’s face.

  18. gonthoka says:

    mbamva ndinuyo chifukwa munavotera chibale

  19. Mccarthy says:

    Me I already told Malawian that this APM is a Big joke, But Malawian is to blame. Look; APM is taking Malawi for ride. These Muthalika’s are thieves like it or not. This APM is destroying our beautiful country, Malawian too much sleeping.

  20. M'Malawi Weniweni says:

    It is impossible to move from $8.2 million to $2 million even if the eight was a dollar sign. Assuming the eight was a dollar sign the declaration would be $.2 million (or $200,0000). If the dollar sign was mistaken for an eight (8) where did the decimal point after the “8” disappear to?

  21. Uchisiru wa Malawi

  22. Aristotle says:

    Vanity of vanities said the philosopher; all is vanity

  23. Charombanthu says:

    Well articulated Raphael. I for one have lost trust in any figures that will come out of that office from now onwards. By the way, is it not common sense that once an officer has declared their assets to this office, Tukula’s office is supposed to verify either physically or at least by writing the respective banks or authorities to confirm the stated figures? These are public officers. Abwana Tukula, office imeneyo ili ngati Auditor’s office. An auditor will not just take the figures given to him by a company. They go to lengths to verify those figures. They have their own ways of verifying such as physical verification tests, confirmations etc etc. Are we really serious here???? You want to fool the 16 million Malawians with such childish excuses, really???

  24. The Truthful One from the West says:

    Comment: Tukula is a compromised man who is awaiting criminal trial. Tukula is therefore a vulnerable person who can easily be manipulated.

  25. Sam Dalitso says:

    We as a people have already been duped into being fed figures that confuse the owners. Mutharika cannot surely entertain such kindergarten stuff to go on in his office. The figures are just questionable and will remain so unless some serious damage control is undertaken. The bad thing with this issue is that Tukula has automatically become a chola boy for the regime and Malawians are already wondering why they should trust him and his office. We need people of integrity in that office

  26. T/A says:

    Bwana BlackBerry inu mukulimbana ndi chuma chanzanu pamene inu zanu mungomwera basi, Shame on u!

  27. Hoitty says:

    Declaring expected wealth to accumulate in 5yrs

  28. Michael Gama says:

    i hate muthalira , his face leadership, accent everything

  29. Dre nkhwazie says:

    Mbava izi

  30. Biti Foloko says:

    He was able to Recount and correct his Bank Balance but took an Injunction to recount stolen votes?….Thief Peter Mutharika

  31. sakamundende says:

    Kodi publication like these zimatuluka bwanji opamda editing?
    Kalulu anva mai oyamba

  32. Palibe Anzeru says:

    Lousy Lawyer this Mutharika he lied under Oath…Perjury!

  33. Mawu Apaseli says:

    He was making preparations to start stealing…..8.2 can’t suddenly become 2 million….. No integrity

  34. Andy Ndaonazino says:

    The DPP guys are really taking us for kindergarten kids. The whole President who is a US trained Lawyer failing to make sense of $ and 8?? Malawians deserve better. I thank you Ralph for exposing this day light robbery. DPP ndi Mbava zakuba poospeza ndi titles. What a silly Professor we have. Usandichimwitse iwe Peter Mutharika this is Easter Sunday!!!!

  35. Tangokumana says:

    Mutharika is a thief….didn’t he check the Asset Declaration before submitting it?….shameful

  36. makito says:

    Spot on Raphael. As usual. I belong to the third school of thought, and I verily believe it is the truth. Tukula should just have resigned, rather than accepting responsibility for the “error” that was not his in the first place.

  37. membala says:

    I listened to Tukula’s as interview on Zodiac.It’s no brainer that actually it’s State House that made a mistake but he was just being diplomatic about it.In my view its State House that goofed on this.The problem with Malawi an Journalists is you want to do desk journalism.If you did investigative journalism like your colleagues in other countries do.

  38. akulu says:

    He was pushed to take the blame coz he is also on wanted list in cashgate cases.kkk

  39. Za Mwai says:

    This Tukula thing looks a crook to me. Kodi siuja ali pa below unable uyu? Ma lawyer (read ma lier) away mai wawo ndi mmodzi!

  40. Life says:

    Muckraker, you are special. Love your analysis – sober, realistic and objective. What I wish was possible in this part of the world, was for people to be responsible and accountable enough as to RESIGN when they have demonstrated ABSOLUTE incapacity. Tukula, the president and the country are a JOKE! If Tukula cannot resign on his own, the mass should force him. Yes! go and seal his so called office.

  41. Ndangodutsamo. says:

    This country is already lost it’s direction and these government officials are bunch of jokes. They take advantage on us just because most Malawians are less educated and they dont take this crap as serious. In other countries they could have been an investigation and his explanation before he forced to resign. And i don’t think this is a mistake.

  42. Ndangodutsamo. says:

    This country is already lost it’s direction and these government officials are bunch of jokes. They take advantage on us just because most Malawians are less educated and they dont take this crap as serious. In other countries they could have been an investigate and his explanation before he forced to resign. And i don’t think this is a mistake.

  43. ujeni says:

    Malawians are still being taken as rubbish to be thrown in a dustbin. If the mistake was $ for 8 then then why did the y put the decimal point there to separate from the 2. This is forgery at its best. If we replace 8 with $ it mean the amount is $ .2m What type of amount is that.

  44. King Jaffe Joffer says:

    Two things : 1. either he was palm oiled to release cooked info by a crooked professor or. 2. He released the info while drunk

  45. Mphongo Zidana says:

    Apa ndiye mwalemba m’madzi achule awerenga.

  46. midnight 6 says:

    Well written and articulated Mr. Raphael. By the way, if given chance to speak on behalf of the president as a spokesman, would u come up with such good articles?

  47. Malawi National Congress says:

    None knows deep down of reality than himself the mr president………… such declaretion is such big confusion to the public and many territory questions shall arise without answers if mr president remain quiete….. He’s one to drop the bottom line of the declaration. otherwise it will be resulted great suspicious on whats happening in public offices….

  48. Tala says:

    The forms do not have the amount in words field to verify the amount given? I surely believe that whoever designed the forms had these common mostakes in mind but having the amount in words field is very important here. If it was a mistake with the figures the amount in words culd have the right figure and stop all this drama…

  49. Alfred Munduwabo says:

    It took the whole president many weeks after announcing his declaration to come out with a proper explanation of his declared wealth , they started by defending his declared figures and when they whole DPP good boys could not defend their boss it is when they cooked a dollar sign mistake thinking that stupid Malawians will be convinced , it has only taken one clever Tenthani to come up with a real explanation to the cooked dollar sign.

  50. tuvitwana says:


  51. Kokotowa says:

    Ralph, I didn’t think the day would come when I would question your writing, check out the costs of Mercedes Benz vehicles by simply logging on to the web. A 20 year old mercury can cost as much as 100000 dollars!

  52. Desire says:

    Muthalika ruling dead but moving people. He can lie to them the way he likes,they dont care

  53. Penyengu says:

    Malawi is a sorry nation with brilliant people like Ralph Tenthani. Thank God we young ones are now spotting the mediocre that has impoverish this great country for 50 solid years. With sharp, positive n progressive minds like that of the writer, Malawi is destined for some brighter future.

  54. Ada Banda says:

    The article is right, thumbs up!

    But you missed one critical factor. Tukula was under pressure to release the results. The results were infalated and Tukula would not change it: not with Ben Phiri on his neck!!

    The reason for premature release was to gain a political milage that APM has duly declared and he is “clean”. To be honest the whole DPP did not suspect it would cause much furore.

    So now after realising that things don`t add up, someone, Ben Phiri or someone somwwhere twisted Tukula`s hand to offer “plausible” explanation. The idea is to save the face of APM. To be fair with APM, he did not actually sign the form at all. Ask Ben, and he will tell you who signed for APM. It is certainly not GG: wangokula mutu GG, but trust me he is just a humble sheep.

    KKKKKK, pa Malawi pamenepo, anyani kupindana michira. Muisova.

    Ine si munandiphumulitsa wu Ambassador and nzanga ujeni uyu osamuninkhako ka mpando ka ujaji kapena DPP. Nde mwati tikudyerani chani.

    Ada Banda

  55. UDK says:

    interesting article …to stimulate debate … GOD SHOULD SAVE OUR NATION

  56. Dick says:

    Anthu akuba awa

  57. Good Luck says:

    Tukula knows the truth about this lies.

  58. Milward says:

    Next time when you feel like talking to Chris Tukula, visit him at his Area 11 offices. His office is a public office. Nanga mutitayitsepo nthawi kuwerenga nkhani yamwini? By the way, Bwana Tenthani munavalako bola mmene mumakakumana ndi EU envoy. Kumatero, iiiiiiiii!

  59. Ben Phiri, remind your boss to ‘beware of the ides of 5 April’ which swallowed the big kahuna!

  60. It’s obviously not Tukula who made the “mistake”. Little kahuna made the “mistake” with intent to correct the mistake by siphoning government funds.

  61. Geoma says:

    State house has computers that are not beong used thats why such important writings were brought to Declaration office in handwritten? SERIOUS????

  62. Masoambeta says:

    It is only in Malawi where such foolishness is entertained. The place is lawless. Now wonder we are in the dark ages since independence.
    Sometimes I think it was right to leave white people to rule. It is obvious that we can not govern ourselves to our own benefit.

  63. chakwanuleka says:

    The credibility of the office of Tukula has now become questionable. How could he fail to cross check with the source on the accuracy of the figure given. Every sensible person except some DPP blind followers questioned how a teacher could have accumulated such wealth. A lot of us suspected he was simply creating room for more looting of our taxes. Realising this sooner or later, the truth will be known, they now decided to retract. These are serial thieves

  64. English Guru says:

    tenthani you are absolutley to the point pachingoni timanena kuti ‘walasa tchende nyani!’ i was waiting for someone to ask all those obvious questions you have raised. what i woukd have liked was for tukula to appear on a forum like tv interview and explain himself on these kany questions. bravo tenthani, keep up the good work!!

    1. Hoitty says:

      Chimenecho si Chingoni koma Chichewa. Write in Ngoni

  65. MAWA BWANJI says:


  66. bonya says:

    Spot on. what I want to hear is where the full stop (decimal point) came from. Now in the USD 2 million, the full stop has suddenly disappeared. If you said he is now worth US$.2M, it would have made some doubtful sense. At lease the questionable $ (or 8) is still there and so is the decimal point.

    Mr Tukula, Malawians are not stupid. Muyaluka nazo zandalezi. Ask Mphwiyo. Have they told you that your case will be dropped for you to lie?

  67. John says:

    Which Tukula are we talking about here? The same one who was handpicked by APM and forced onto us a messiah with amazing educational background in numbers? Kikiki… C’mon. I dont understand what the surprise is all about. When has the DPP done anything right, and by “right” i mean LEGAL?

  68. Makiu says:

    Also its useless expense to have such an office which was rushed into enactment because Joyce Cashgate Banda felt jelousy of Bingu 61b wa Muntharika. thats the problem of having laws specifically targeting certain individuals. This is one stupid law that will not serve anything but help drain resources for nothing. People are using Lido Electrical to steal and you can not catch them

  69. Search me says:

    I absolutely agree… Actually whats worse is the length of time he allowed the debate to rage on without coming out with a mea culpa!

    1. Bwenzi says:

      God will sort out all these lies and bring justice. Man is mortal. We’ll not carry what we accumulated on the poorman’s head after death

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