Donors clear Minister Chiumia of any wrongdoing

In a dramatic turn of events, US Christian organization- Presbytery of Northern New York has cleared Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Grace Obama Chiumia of any wrong doing in the sale of property previously owned by the family of widowed woman Cecilia Mkandawire.

Mkandawire and her son Mwiza Currie Mkandawire had accused Chiumia of pocketing money amounting to K13.6 million from the sale of Mwiza Lodge to the extent of setting up High Court sheriffs on the Minister, who had her property seized by the sheriffs on Friday, July 11, 2014.

However, latest communication from the Presbytery of Northern New York, which administers operations Hope Ministry and other US based Christian Ministries operating in Malawi suggests the Minister’s hands are clean.

Grace 'Obama' Chiumia: No wrongdoing
Grace ‘Obama’ Chiumia: No wrongdoing
Rev Garry: Chiumia not in the wrong
Rev Garry: Chiumia not in the wrong

The Ministry has described the accusations being levelled against Chiunia as ‘false and shameful.’

According to an emailed response from Reverend Pastor Fred Garry of the Presbytery of Northern New York which secured funds for the property purchase from American churches and donors, a payment of $89,000 was made to the Mkandawires on top of an initial deposit of $11,000. The amounts also covered legal fees, taxes and other fees
consistent with transfer of property.

Counsel for the Mkandawire family Patrick Ngwira acknowledged receipt of $89,000 through an emailed response dated August 5, 2013.


“I acknowledge receipt of $89,000. I am pleased to advise that we have finally completed the whole transaction. The property now belongs to Chisomo Garry Widows Organisation.

“You will receive copies of documentation by Wednesday, August 7, 2013,” reads the emailed response from Ngwira, which has been made available to Nyasa Times.

The Reverend Garry, however, says he was surprised to receive fresh communication from Ngwira in November 2013 claiming a balance of $34,000 (MK13,647,237.00).

Wrote Ngwira in his fresh claim dated November 14, 2013: “I have been advised by Mrs Mkandawire to write you and follow up on the remainder of the purchase price. In terms of the memorandum of the sale agreement there is a balance of MK13,647,237.00. The $89,000 which was wired translated to MK26,352,763.00 plus MK5,000,000.00 which went towards transfer of lease charges and professional fees.

“As I had already indicated in my earlier email, whatever amount was to be wired to Malawi needed to translate to MK40 million. Furthermore, as per agreement, payment of the balance ought to have been paid within 30 days from the date of lease transfer and is now long overdue.

“I am sure you are aware of this since I already submitted the documents including the memorandum of agreement and that Grace has communicated this fact to you,” write Ngwira.

After getting the claim from Ngwira, Garry says he advised their partner Chiumia to seek legal counsel to represent Chisomo Garry Widows.

“We sought such aid because it was not clear to us how a purchase deemed complete required a final payment. At no time was money withheld from the owners of Mwiza Lodge nor did our partner Hon. Grace Chiumia withhold any funds.

“Mention of exchange rates and currency valuations were made by Mr Ngwira but no clear evidence was provided as to why the purchase price would increase so dramatically,” says Garry.

The Reverend said Chiumia had only worked to help all parties and ‘guard the gift from what appears to be greed and false dealing.’

He challenged he was ready to produce other supporting documents and correspondence and appear before any court in Malawi.

Obama described the recent developments that have resulted into seizure of her property and bad publicity towards her as politically motivated.

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