The new broom at the Malawi’s graft-busting body, The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is ready to pounce on former First Lady, Gertrude Mutharika over allegations that her charity, Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust used to source funds from public institutions.
Gertrude Mutharika’s charity, Beam Trust has since 2017 been collecting huge sums of money form public institutions such as Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and the Blantyre City Council (BCC) to fund its activities.
At one point in 2019, LWB paid over K29 million on behalf of Mrs. Mutharika’s charity, Beam Trust for a witchcraft-looking ‘thing’ which many people refer to it as ‘Chijachi’ to a sculpture known as Gaston Arts, which was constructed in the City Centre in the capital, Lilongwe.
ACB is also investigating Mutharika’s charity on a shady deal on garbage collection.
Inside sources at ACB is confided to Nyasa Times that investigations are at an advanced stage into a garbage collection contract Blantyre City Council (BCC) awarded to wife of deposed president Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika on her Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust.
“Any time now ACB will soon take an action against Gertrude Mutharika and her Beam. All evidence has been gathered,” said the source.
Nyasa Times understands that the former Mutharika, a former Parliamentarian, when her husband was in power has had a contract that was awarded without following procedures.
The contract, according to records, which was signed in 2017, allowed Beam Trust to lease out two trucks used as refuse collection vehicles to BCC at a cost of K60,000 per day, translating into K22 million annually since 2017.
However, the trucks were a donation from the People’s Republic of China to the charity organisation, a nonprofit making organisation, which the former first lady founded.
The transaction happened without the BCC seeking approval from the Public Procurement and disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA)
ACB publicist Egrita Ndala confirmed in an interview that it is indeed true that the corruption-fighting crime state agency was probing the matter.
“The bureau is investigating a former First Lady in relation to an allegation that Blantyre City Council awarded a contract of garbage collection to Beautify Malawi Trust without following procedures and corruptly.
Ndala said: “The bureau is making progress on the investigations and is hopeful that they will be completed soon and when all is done, we will take an appropriate action.
Blantyre City Council spokesperson Anthony Kasunda when contacted declined to comment on the matter.
However, a highly placed source at Blantyre City Council privy to the matter, revealed that there no legally binding contract but an arrangement for the leasing of the two trucks.
“It is not only wrong, it is against the law to just make arrangements involving public resources using political connection.
“ACB needs to make sure that this case is finalised to its logical conclusion and that in the end justice is served but at the same time be a lesson to politicians that just because they are in power, then it means they’re above the law,” said the source.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition last year moved ACB to investigate the allegations involving the former First Lady’s charity and Blantyre City Council.
Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust was launched on 13th September 2014 soon after Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika ascended to power with the aim of achieving a cleaner and healthier Malawi.
The newly appointed ACB Director General (DG) Martha Chizuma promised change as regards how the ACB will operate under her watch soon after she was appointed to the office saying she will make people feel uncomfortable on matters of corruption.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :