The tweaks of Assets Declaration in Malawi

The way Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika goes back and forth on almost every issue is legendary, in fact award-winning. Malawians have in mind the issue of presidential salary hikes; appointments of parastatal board members; the issue of diplomatic appointments; and now the issue of his assets declaration.Loose cannon

Not long ago, the office of the Director of Assets Declaration made known the assets of President Peter Mutharika and other top public officials, of course after a request by some well-meaning Malawians.

This is when we knew that our beloved President is a billionaire (or is it multi-millionaire) with assets and bank accounts spread around the world. The assets include a house that Mutharika said he bought in 1982 at the price of US$750,000.00.

Obviously, the value of this house today is not the same as it was when Mutharika bought it. Real estate often appreciates in value as years go by. You would therefore expect the value to have quadrupled over the 30 years that our President has owned it.

It was unsettling, therefore, when reports from ‘very reliable sources’ suggested that houses in the part of suburbia where Peter Mutharika has his apartment are worth not more than US$400 today. As if this was not enough, Malawians were also hit by information from the Office of the Director of Assets Declarations that Mutharika’s assets were actually ‘mis-declared’.

Malawians were told our President did not have US$8 million in his US bank account, but US$2 million, and that he is not a billionaire after all like it was initially reported. Neither Mutharika nor his trusted aide, Ben Phiri, have come out to speak about this assets mis-declaration, or even to clarify about the real value of the US house, which does not seem to dovetail with the prevailing variables.

But typical us, Malawians, we have once again left this issue to drift down with the water as another none-issue. We have once again put our hands in the pockets and still whistle softly like nothing is happening.

But looking at this issue critically in relation to Mutharika’s governing style and his decision-making processes, a familiar pattern is emerging that is revealing, not a mistake, but a heinous plot that might just have gone bonkers due to pressure of circumstances.

The notion that the Office of the Director of Assets Declaration mistook the dollar sign, $,on Mutharika’s declaration for a figure 8, is pretty feeble, as it is wanting. Does that mean an office like that, which was set up by a whole Act of Parliament, just takes numbers at their face value without even carrying its own additions or verifying the amounts?

Surely, is this a good office with some lawyer at the helm? How many other mistakes has Mr. Chris Tukula made apart from the one on Mutharika’s declaration? How does Mutharika explain the inconsistency in value of his US house? How does he begin to explain buying a US$750,000 house in 1982, which may now be worth just US$350,000? Something, in fact many things, are simply not adding up here.

The question one is tempted to ask is, what is President Mutharika really up to?

President Mutharika must have been shocked by the resultant furore that his ‘mis-declaration’ created. It is possible that he and his cronies overlooked the fact that Lingson Belekanyama and his Parliamentary Finance Committee have powers to investigate and verify these declarations. The only damage control measure, therefore, was to put pressure on Tukula to revise down the value (s) and then own the ‘mistake’.

This whole [mis-declaring and lying] fiasco gives away a high handed plot by Mutharika whose only objective is to accumulate sinful wealth for himself at the expense of Malawians.

Were it not for the furore the declaration created, Mutharika’s wealth would have been inflated by a whopping K3.2 billion. It is a mark-up the President intends to ‘earn’ over the next three years, and that is no small change.

Where is this money going to come from? The answer obviously lies where the ocean meets the sky. Even at K800 million, Peter Mutharika would not have allowed his brother, Bingu, to be at the constant mercy of Atcheya during the UDF campaign days prior to 2004.

DPP could not have struggled the way it did during the last tripartite elections with regard to funding. The DPP nearly failed to hold a nomination certificate presentation function for its parliamentary candidates at Robins Park in Blantyre because there was no K300, 000 to pay for the venue.

One thing may be true, probably. Mutharika’s claimed assets have been accumulated over the year that he has been in government—and that is a fast lane.

As a people, Malawians must develop a critical mind because if we continue on this path, developing this country would be like searching for a proverbial needle in a haystack. All the pretentious nonsense from State House must be treated with a pinch of salt that it deserves.

Otherwise, our political space will continue to breed pathological liars and sycophants. For how long are we going to stand aside and look whilst our beautiful motherland is being auctioned for 30 pieces of shekels?

“You can fool some people some times but you can’t fool all the people all the time” ― Bob Marley

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44 thoughts on “The tweaks of Assets Declaration in Malawi”

  1. chingolopiyo says:

    Zondiwe on comment 40, you are still asleep . How much is the cost of a bare plot in Chilimba or Lunzu. A plot is costing more than MK7 million, without any structure. People are not responding to what you think is a big issue to you, yet it is not. It shows how poor thinking you are and you can not even know the cost of a piece of land to built a house. A house value can go up even if it was built in 1980 as long as the house is renovated, put in new and better material of high quality. What you have to know that those houses that were built a long time a go may be before you were born have a strong foundation that the ones that are being built now which can collapse easily. I will give you an assignment, just to open your mind or to remove you from the world you are, go to estate agents and ask them to sell you a house of 2 million kwacha in Nyambadwe, may be you think its a boys quarter which you saw and you thought its a main house. Wake up from your sleep, Kamuzu said Kwacha.

  2. Zondiwe says:

    A President or Presidential aides cannot “mis-write” the $ sign instead of 8. This cannot happen in any civilized society.
    If Tukula accepts this nonsense, then his head should be examined like Lutepo’s was examined.
    I earlier on wrote about the President’s house in Nyambadwe being valued at K7million. None of you has shown any interest in this house, or even the figure. You are just busy writing about other things, rather than following a line of enquiry to the end. You Malawians love leaving issues hanging. There is something wrong with you as well. When will you resolve this anomaly? Push Tukula to be performing his functions professionally.
    I stated that we are getting disinformation from State House, and this appears to be intentional otherwise a respectable State House will always insist on the truth and nothing but the truth only. They should not act like cowboys in our country.

  3. makito says:

    Abale, kumudzi tikuberedwa ndi a Pulezidenti, Nduna zaboma, a bizinesi, apolisi ndi anthu wamba. Kunja tikukhapidwa ndi eni dziko. Tithawira kuti? Are we this helpless. Cant we stand up at least against the President whom we elect? Shame. Shame indeed.

  4. makito says:

    It is really disheartening that even after APM said infact did NOT have $8m in the bank account, people still defend his initial declaration with such stupid and illogical reasoning. Koma school yake it you people went to?

  5. Zgambo says:

    Wo Vinidwa Ine…….you have come out to defend this mbuzi….how would you compare APM with Franklin…..just consider the timing and wake up now that you are in 21st Century.

    Stop manipulating facts when it is clear that APM amassed his wealth in Malawi as opposed to what you are holding him to be. A professor is a Professor basi ndi mphunzitsi uyu.

  6. Mccarthy says:

    Mudakana Chakwera, Don’t cry ” you need 2feel the vibe & more 4 years 2come, amalawi kusamva.

  7. patricia says:

    A well written article with objectivity. The problem with Malawians is that we remain to be the most docile and meek rot. We hero worship even when we see wrongs being done. You have the likes of Jere , Magede si wandale aka Chancy Chingwalungwalu who will defend APM as if he is God. This man was a mere professor and to become a billionaire raises many questions. Malawians need to be vigilante and hold our leaders accountable. If it wasn’t for the up roar APM would have got away with murder. Just imagine a whooping $8 million of our tax money. These people are thieves. It was a well calculated move to over declare that way they can steal more!

    1. wo Vinidwa ine says:

      Iwe Patricia: “This man was a mere professor…?” – unreasonable presumption that he could not have invested his money wisely. Like into his family’s law firm. Becoming a full professor at a top notch university is America is not simple undertaking, a sis.
      Queestion: how well do you really understand the world of academia, and finances in the States? FYI: a billion Kwacha is only two and half million dollars – achievable over the long haul (like APM’s stay there), with wise investing and, much luck too.
      Please stick to things you know.

      1. johnM says:

        If he indeed invested his money wisely, why is he submitting false declarations? Professors in the United States do earn a lot of money, however you will agree with me that they are not the richest people in America

  8. ujeni says:

    Reaping were he did not sow. Another swindler in our midist.

  9. ujeni says:

    Zondiwe, you are not the only one, only people fron Thyolo understand what he mumbles the mumble jumble

    1. wo Vinidwa ine says:

      Well, one of the most effective and celebrated American presidents is Franklin Roosevelt. He had a debilitating handicap, but that did not seem to slow him down, in terms of governing. And one of the recent Canadian Prime Ministers, and also one of the most popular in recent memory, has an asymmetrical face – a physical handicap.
      Are you perfect, Sir?

  10. chingolopiyo says:

    Thom, you are right with the quote. You can fool other people but you can’t fool all. I think the article has some information that wants to fool other readers. Where on earth can you buy a house at us$400? Not all houses depreciate in value because of age. For example, John Terry bought a house and refurbished it and made a 10 million profit, this is a simple example. Have you not heard the term adding value? You can add value to your old house by refurbishing , putting in high quality material in it, you can’t sell it or value it low. Check with estate agents if its this is true. All are writings are just full of envy, hatred and jealousy. In Malawi people have bought a bare land at hundreds of kwachas but there are selling the same land in millions. There is this site Nyumba 24, check and see old houses reaching high prices and those willing are buying them. You can not tell me Thom that is you built a house or bought it you can sell at a cheaper price. Why are second cars are not cheaper. If houses are 400 in USA, every us citizen would have had a house, no one to rent. May be Joice Banda has also bought hers at the same price so that she can be feeding lies to reporters.

  11. mthako wa alhomwe says:

    number 14, mtumbuka, you mean JB knew all these accounts being revealed now?

    You gotta be blind man

  12. Zgambo says:

    30 Pieces of Shekel……I like that….Malawians listen to people like our President because they confuse politics with lies, to them a good politician is a good liar. Wake up, you dont make money through teaching in the West the average salary for a University lecturer is £25,000 a year. Make your own arithmetic and see how long it may take you to buy a property

  13. Kankhwezule Kakang'ono says:

    APM and his DPP are in government to enrich themselves. Cashgate or no cashgate these people are there to steal tax money. They are not ashamed to lie to the nation that Peter is invited to US to attend some obscure gala meeting yet the said gala meeting already took place a month ago. Liers and killers!

  14. Think Tank says:

    The problem is not with State House,but the cadets who defend everything from there without thinking. They overwhelmingly defend and praise. When you point-out something,you are easily labelled as belonging to the opposition. Their soft target is JB. They have totally forgotten that Malawians have the right to speak out.

  15. Nkhwilitoto says:

    A Mtumbuka sizoona kuti nthawi ya ma account a Pitala adatsekedwa palibe account Ina ili yonse ya petulo inatsekedwa. Kunena zoona Pitala analibe ndalama ndipo amadalila Bingu ndi Ena otchedwa akufuna kwabwino ngakhale ukwati wake,BEAm ndi zina. Mwachidule alive kali konse.

  16. Ndikutelo says:

    Malawi Ali pa mavuto aakulu,komanso a Malawi ndizoona adzingoyang’ana ngati palibe chomwe chachitika.

  17. H Kamdidi says:

    I like your line of thinking!

  18. Kandapako says:

    Now this is Loose Cannon Mr. Chiumia. Telling it like it is.

  19. Jophat says:

    A Thom mwalemba bwino can someone tell me how much money was used to construct Capital hill in late 70s because i still dont believe kuti kanyumba kamodzi kogonamo bambo P mutharika kangakhale $750000.00in 1982

  20. Zondiwe says:

    The house in Nyambadwe was declared at K7million.
    It is an upstairs house, white and finished within the last 2 years.
    There is no way it can be valued at K7million.
    How many figures are wrong in our President’s asset register?
    The problem is that we get so much disinformation from State House that we are now not sure of what to believe and what not to believe. Sad. Look at the reasons for the current trip to the US. To attend a meeting that took place in March? For goodness’ sake, this recklessness with information must stop otherwise the President’s battered credibility will entirely disappear.
    Btw, I hope I am the only Malawian who fails to understand what our President is saying on TV. Often, I have tried hard to concentrate, but to no avail. There must something wrong with me.

  21. SIBO says:

    am not one of his fools.

  22. mphasayaweni lobi says:

    true, good article

  23. SHAWA says:

    For the first time i which Boko Haram was in Malawi-i cud had joined.

  24. Charombanthu says:

    I don’t trust anything coming out of Tukula’s office henceforth.

  25. Search me says:

    How sure are you that the mistake was not that of those doing the transcription? It is common for those who are tasked with copying information from one document to another to make mistakes more so if the original document was hand written.
    I doubt you have tried to investigate all the possibilities the one I have suggested included, and yet some how you have come to a conclusion without ruling out all other possibilities?
    What are journalists being taught these days?
    As for the audience here we like speculation and passing it off as fact. Here is a thought for you, if the justice system worked with speculation and accepted it as fact, before those tasked with finding out what actually happened have made the effort to do just that and then having done so have concluded, would you think such a system fair?

  26. Piche Yakiti says:

    Much as I agree with what you have written, one thing I would like to remind you is that you should come home and fight this battle on the ground.

    You know African politics, or Malawian politics in particular. I will remind you about our own son Robert Chasowa. Such happenings are the ones that make Malawians stay put.

    Some of us just concluded : Let judgement day come !

  27. Mr man, just leave our President. He is so smart, he is a billionare as indicated in the first report not the so called corrected one. However, my state president lied that he is going 4 a very important meeting in the US on Monday. How shld I defend him when he comes back?

  28. Mtumbuka says:

    kodi Thom sukudziwa kuti nthawi ya joice ma accounts onse apeter adatseka? tsono akadatenga kuti k300,000 imene ukunenayo?

  29. tttt says:

    Well you clearly havent been following what has been going on for the last couple of years. Didnt you hear of the global financial crisis that was caused by the housing system in USA. House prices havent gone up or quadrupled rather the opposite… Well in most cases.

  30. lol says:

    Honestly speaking our president is dumb, he cannot bring real solutions to the problems of this country, no wonder we are being ruled by Ben Phiri.

  31. MSANA WA PETURO says:

    APM is the worst president Malawi has ever had. Senseless, selfish, and careless. MCP woyee!!!

  32. Kachikho says:

    He is not sure ….and that public kiss Eish!

  33. Getu says:

    He couldn’t make a decision when Bingu died….mpaka kuola

  34. NAC says:

    And the list of Women he wanted to marry!…at 74 he was touting how many females?

  35. Malopa says:

    And there is the Burning of Ivory…The Gala Dinner…the list is long!

  36. Malawians too much sleeping

  37. Munthu wa Mulungu says:

    To add on to that, the president is currently in America where he will be the guest of honour at the meeting which took place back in march. Shame! CSOs, these are the issues you need to give leadership to the voiceless to action. Have you gone to sleep? or we don’t have any around? Thin as Malawi is, why are few individuals trying to milk it like that. Lord, have mercy.

  38. sakamundende says:

    Kkkkkk. My thoughts are just yours this man is a trickster and opportunist

  39. Agogo opanda manu nkhamwa kubabe basi ana mulibe kugofuna kutenga naza matsoka mufe nthawi yanu isanakwane

  40. Mzuma says:

    The question that I carry is why declarations? What is the root cause of this issue of declaration of asserts? Is it a solution? I doubt.

  41. Alfred Munduwabo says:

    Chiman Chakuba chimenechi. He is impersonating as a president of Malawi , just arrest him , we need a president in Malawi.

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