Presidential press secretary Brian Banda has said President Lazarus Chakwera administration would not allow some people to take away what belongs to Malawians and that his aides will not be involved in wrongful self-enrichment like in the previous administration, saying he has set an example by declaring his wealth to the Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations.
Banda was responding to questions from a journalist during State House weekly briefing held virtually on Monday.
Responding to a question on government’s seizure of property from former president Peter Mutharika’s bodyguard, Norman Chisale, which include 78 cars and 21 houses and buildings in prime locations and that Chisale’s day of reckoning has come, whether controls have been put in place to ensure that this does not continue in the new era, Banda said the Chakwera administration has already shown commitment to ensure government becomes more transparent and accountable than before.
The question pressed Banda based on stories that abuses are already walking around the corridors of State House and whether presidential aides have declared their assets so the public should know what personal property they have and what the source of their income has been thus far, so that when we suddenly begin to see them buying expensive cars and build posh houses – the public should be satisfied that the source of the money is not from wrongful enrichment.
Apparently, State Residences is one of the government agencies that is heavily funded but is also embroiled in matters of over-spending.
Banda said most of the presidential aides have declared their assets and others are doing the same.
“A lot have declared their assets. We ae still hitting the ground, a lot of them are yet to declare their assets but the majority of them are declaring their assets,” said Banda.
He added: “The President has made a great example for declaring his assets.”
Banda said there is “a lot of gatekeeping here at the Palace; be assured President Chakwera is committed to making sure every cent is accounted for.”
Commentators have argued that transparency and accountability can only be the solution to impunity of wrongful enrichment.
“We need to put to effective use the Public Officers (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Act, 2013. If the Act does not include the President’s gatekeepers, then we must review it to ensure it does,” commented one social media influencer Onjezani Kenani on his post on Facebook.
In his declaration form submitted on September 17 2019, Chakwera indicated that he had K43 million cash in various bank accounts, including one in the United States of America. The local banks holding Chakwera’s cash included FDH Bank (K27 486 584), National Bank of Malawi plc (K3 486 362.40), First Capital Bank plc (K1.3 million) and Wells Fargo USA ($15 000 or K11.2 million).
In terms of real estate, Chakwera declared a house in Area 49 Shire in Lilongwe built in 1988 with valued construction cost of K4 million. He said the project was funded by a loan from New Building Society, NBS Bank’s forerunner.
He also declared his private residence in Area 6 in Lilongwe built in 2019 and valued at K100 million. He said it was funded by an Opportunity Bank loan, his salary and gratuity.
Besides assets held in his name, Chakwera also declared houses owned by his immediate family, including a house in Area 49 valued at K30 million and that it was procured with a loan and terminal benefits from Air Malawi. The member of the immediate family owning the property is identified as Reverend Mwasinga.
Chakwera’s wife, Monica, declared a house in Lilongwe’s Area 10 valued at K80 million and constructed in 2008. He said it was jointly financed by a mortgage and sale of houses in Area 15 and Area 3 in Lilongwe.
He also declared Kapiri 2 Farm in his Malembo Village in Lilongwe which, he said, he inherited from his family. He also declared another plot at Nyangulu Village, Traditional Authority Makanjira in Salima purchased at K1 million from his gratuity.
Chakwera also declared a fleet of vehicles owned by him personally and his immediate family.
The vehicles include a Mercedes Benz saloon registration BS 1835 bought in 2014 at K4.5 million using a bank loan, a Range Rover registration MC 9664 worth K9 million bought in 2017 with a bank loan and Isuzu truck registration LL 2901 valued at K18 million purchased in 2014 with a bank loan.
He also declared two vehicles he received as gifts; namely a Hummer registration MC 20 he said he received in 2014 and a Toyota Hilux single cab he was given by a well-wisher in 2018.
Chakwera also declared to have received another vehicle, Toyota Prado TX. However, the President did not declare who his benefactors were for the vehicles.
In his declaration, Chakwera also included motor vehicles owned by his son Nick, daughters Violet Mwasinga and Tapiwa Kampondeni and son-in-law, Sean Chitsanzo Kampondeni.
The President also said he signed a K50 million car loan with FDH Bank through Parliament.
Upon ascending to the office of President in June, Chakwera resubmitted declaration contains updated information.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :