Cat-and-mouse game: ACB interview with APM over TPIN abuse fails again, ‘APM unwell’

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday July 28, 2021, failed, yet again, to interrogate former President Peter Mutharika over the alleged abuse of his Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TPIN).

This is the third time that the interview has failed to take place. The ACB initially planned and announced to engage the former President on July 20 but rescheduled the interview to July 27 because the former President had asked for more time to prepare.

Former President Peter Mutharika: Unwell for ACB ‘witch-hunt’ interview

On July 27, the former President issued a statement on the same day expressing his “reluctance” to grant the interview, citing several reasons, including that the ACB had not informed him about the offences he committed to warrant the interview.

But the ACB was having none of it. The Bureau’s Principal Public Relations Officer Egrita Ndala announced that the interview was to go ahead on Wednesday, July 28 and that the Bureau had informed Mutharika to that effect.

But in a typical cat-and-mouse game, Mutharika has come up with another excuse. The legal team for the former President announced on Wednesday their client was feeling unwell and he was, therefore, unfit to undergo interrogation.

ACB Director Martha Chizuma confirmed having been communicated to that Mutharika was unwell and that he would be undergoing a medical assessment, which would determine the Bureau’s next step.

Ndala also told Nyasa Times that indeed the interview had been postponed.

“That is the position,” she said in a brief response when asked about the development.

The Bureau wants to interview the former President in connection with the duty-free importation of tens of tonnes of cement worth billions of Kwacha using Mutharika’s duty-free privilege when he was Head of State.

Mutharika’s former Chief Security Officer Paulosi Norman Chisale, former Director of State Residences, Peter Mukhito, and former Deputy Director General for the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) Loza Mbilizi were recently arrested in connection with the abuse of the former President’s duty-free status.

A Lilongwe-based businessman of Asian origin, Ahmed Shaffe Chunara was also arrested in connection with alleged importation of 1 million bags of cement worth over K5 billion. They are all on bail.

Officers from the Fiscal Police department interviewed the former President under caution in August 2020 regarding the same matter where he denied any involvement in the importation of cement.

However, without interrogating him, the ACB went ahead to freeze the former President’s bank accounts based on the same matter. The accounts have since been unfrozen following the recent court refusal to grant a Preservation Order under the Financial Crimes Act to keep the accounts frozen.

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1 year ago

Leave the kahuna alone

1 year ago

Shame that the Law and Order President who spent his working life as a lawyer has refused to discuss this issue of a loss of taxes a duty used to support Malawi by illigitament means of using his previlaged TPIN. Mr. President you should be standing up for Malawi as past President and legal scholar. Shame your legacy as legal scholar and President is in tatters by your actions.

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