Chakwera insists JB must publicise assets: ‘I will declare mine before Malawi tripartite elections’

President of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Dr Lazarus Chakwera has emphasised the need for President Joyce Banda to make public her assets before May 20 Tripartite Elections if her name is to be cleared in the cashgate scandal.

Addressing journalists Tuesday in the capital Lilongwe, Chakwera said declaring her assets was the only way Banda could clear the notion that her assets are not linked to the looting of government money.

“It’s not about politics but am on the president’s side because where there is no information, there are always a lot of speculations and the only way to avoid them, is to declare her assets through the National Assembly Speaker,” he said.

Chakwera and MCP big wigs addressing a news conference
Chakwera and MCP big wigs addressing a news conference

But President Banda also speaking when she addressed a news conference at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Tuesday, said she already declared her assets.

Banda said she first declared her assets when she was appointed minister in 2004 and declared when she was vice president.

She said when she ascended to the Presidency, she had a legal opinion that she needed not to declare her assets but went ahead to declare and deposited the same to Parliament.

She also said her predecessors Bakili Muluzi and the late Bingu WA Mutharika should also make public what they declared before and what they amassed during their terms of office.

And asked if he was ready to declare his assets, Chakwera said the process was underway and before the elections, Malawians will know how much his wealth is.

The MCP leader also called on the Banda’s administration to convene parliament on March 10 (next Monday) to discuss the forensic cashgate report, maize scam and the proceeds of the sale of the luxury presidential jet, sold to Bohnox Limited for $15 million.

Chakwera also demanded government to disclose names of companies and individuals who siphoned public funds estimated at K13 billion between April and September last year as established by a forensic audit report undertaken by a British firm, Baker Tilly.

But the Malawi leader has dismissed such calls saying she was not aware of the contents of the report, but said the British firm would be recalled to explain to Parliament.

Banda also said she wanted the forensic audit report to be tabled in Parliament alongside a report of an audit which took place in 2010 before her government came into power. The report revealed that K92 billion was misused.

During the MCP news conference, Chakwera was accompanied by his party’s legal advisor Khuze Kapeta, Campaign Director and his deputy, Felix Jumbe and Joseph Njobvuyalema respectively, Spokesperson Jessie Kabwila and her deputy Ezekiel Ching’oma and some Members of Parliament.–(Additional reporting Wanga Gwede, Nyasa Times)

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