The legal attempt to declare public the Bineth Trust of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika to become a replica of Press Trust, which was initially established as a public trust but operated and was used as a personal entity of Malawi’s founding president, the late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, has been foiled after government has dropped the case .
The Bineth Trust in now run by the family of Mutharika including the Head of State, Professor Peter Mutharika, the late Bingu’s brother, who is on record of accusing previous Joyce Banda administration of engaging into “property grabbing” of his deceased brother’s property.
Government though the Attorney General chambers commenced proceedings at the Commercial Division of the High Court in the capital, Lilongwe for a declaration that the Bineth Trust is a charitable trust and for restoration of money that was withdrawn from the Bineth Trust accounts for purposes not in line with aims and objectives of the trust.
The State argued that the trustees are in breach of trust.
But now government has disposed of the case, Ministry of Justice Spokesperson Apoche Itimu confirmed.
“The case on Bineth Trust was disposed of,” said Itimu, as quoted in the press.
Aims and objectives of the trust, according to the title deed which the former president signed, is to administer the Bingu Academy of Sciences, now Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must), whose main objective is to enable Malawi to make a quantum leap in high-level research in natural and medical sciences specifically based on Malawi’s needs for technological, economic, industrial, manufacturing and agriculture development.
Government, through Estate Commissioner, froze all but one bank accounts belonging to the former president Mutharika over unpaid K5 billion (about $12.5m) estate duty from an estate estimated at K61 billion (about $152m) according to a government-hired valuer Yeremia Chihana.
But all the bank accounts were unlocked.
Bingu wa Mutharika died of cardiac arrest while serving as president on April 5 2012.