Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has sprung up in defence of former president Peter Mutharika who is accused of paying his private contractor K247 million using State House money.
Malawi News last week published a story which said Mutharika spent over the K247 million construction contract for renovation of personal and state residences.
The report indicates that during Mutharika’s time, State House paid Bonongwe Building Contractors, owned by a Lilongwe-based businessman Gilliat Samudeni Bonongwe, who was contracted by former president Mutharika to build his Mapanga and Mangochi private residences, raising eyebrows.
But DPP spokesperson, Brown Mpinganjira , says it is wrong to suggest that Mutharika used Treasury as a conduit to defraud State House.
He says State House paid the contractor the money for renovations done at State Residences.
Mpinganjira said: “Contractor Bonongwe sufficiently explains that he was paid for several works he did for government and not privately for President Mutharika. These works are on record.”
He said the contractor renovated Mtunthama State Residence in Lilongwe to the condition that it is today for it to be occupiable by President Lazarus Chakwera.
He also renovated Kamuzu Palace and constructed new offices as well as accommodation facilities for Sanjika Palace.
One of the cheques issued to Bonongwe, State House paid K247,000,000 .
The contractor was however quick to point out that the payments in question were to do with maintenance works he had carried out at State Residences, adding he sued Mutharika for breach of contract and failure to honour payment on the works done at his private residences.
Bonongwe’s construction company was paid by State House in 2019 from the month of April to July.
On April 10, 2019 a deposit of K40,000,000 was made from State Residence ORT account number 1253328 using cheque number 44738. From the same account, other payments were made to Bonongwe Building Contractors in different months.
The last deposit worth K57,000,000 was made on July 3, 2019 from a similar State Residence ORT account number, using cheque number 45208.
Bonongwe acknowledged the payments and said he was paid for renovations and certain constructions he had done at some of the country’s State Houses.
“Part of the payments you have seen were made for services offered at Sanjika Palace for construction of a kitchen, hostels, shower rooms. At Mtunthama in Area 3 we renovated the big house when late president John Magufuli visited the country. We also painted the fence during this time.
“However, the work done for the former president, the issue is now at court, the cheques you have seen are for the works my company did in different State Houses,” he said.
Bonongwe said the claim he made towards Mutharika is currently still in court.
“That issue is still at the Industrial Relations Court,” he said.
Bonongwe claimed that from July 2020, his company was involved in construction of the former president’s houses in Mangochi, Mapanga and Nyambadwe in Blantyre and Area 43 in Lilongwe to the tune of K165 million.
He added that he orally entered into an agreement with Mutharika to provide building materials for implementation of the project, and pay monthly salaries for labourers engaged in the projects on the understanding that he would raise the bill at the end of the projects.
Bonongwe claimed that the former president has only managed to pay K30 million and has not paid the outstanding sum of K135 million despite the contractor’s efforts to get the money.
The contractor is, therefore, demanding payment of K135 million, at an interest rate of three percent, and damages for breach of contract and legal costs.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :