Umodzi Party (UP) President John Chisi has warned President Peter Mutharika to tread carefully in handling corruption cases presently haunting the country pointing out that protecting his aides and cabinet ministers might backfire dangerously for him.
Chisi said it was unfortunate that Mutharika was “not on top” of his job.
He mentioned such cases as the K577 billion corruption scam – that has now been slashed to K236 billion –and the recent misprocurement of maize from Zambia involving Admarc CEO Foster Mulumbe and Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda as some of which Mutharika must handle with an iron fist.
“As President he should not shield anyone but must make sure he works for the well good of the entire nation,” said Chisi.
The politician-cum-medical professor at the College of Medicine who performed miserably in the May 2014 tripartite elections, getting less than two per cent of the total vote, Chisi warned that should Mutharika not act on the matter he “risks losing the trust of Malawians.”
Mutharika has been under pressure from activists and the civil society to fire Chaponda and Mulumbe so that they pave way for investigations.
But Chaponda has militantly refused to step down, accusing private media of sheer smear.
Last week Mutharika appointed a Commission of Inquiry that will be headed by retired Chief Justice Anastanzia Msosa “to get to the bottom” of the matter. The commissioners include Solicitor General Janet Banda, auditor Isaac Kayira and Mike Chinoko.
The Commission has 21 days, up to January 31, to come up with findings on the issue.
But several quarters including social commentators have described the establishment of the Inquiry as a mere “political gimmick.”
On Sunday, Times Group editor-in-chief George Kasakula observed that Commissions of Inquiry have never worked in the country.
“That is why Malawians are skeptical about the one the President has just instituted,” said Kasakula.
Kasakula, a columnist in weekly Malawi News, was also of the view that Chaponda and Mulumbe step down.
Admarc reportedly bought maize at K26 billion from the Zambian company and it is believed that Malawi could have saved about K9.5 billion if it had bought the grain directly from the Zambian government.
The use of a middleman, Kaloswe, is raising suspicion when Malawi government is on record to have said Chaponda was in discussion with the Zambian government over the maize deal, and at some point, engaged in discussions directly with Zambian President Edgar Lungu.
Both Chaponda and Mulumbe have denied any wrong doing in the alleged scam.
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