Malawi’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Pioneer Investments—a firm suspected to have fraudulently supplied food rations at Malawi Police — on Monday submitted to the High Court in Blantyre to dismiss the K145 million case because the petitioner, Youth and Society (YAS) has no locus standi [sufficient interest].
The K145 million issue came to light in June following a leaked Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigation report which showed that Pioneer Investment Limited made an abortive interest claim of K466 million and deposited the controversial K145 million into the DPP bank account at Standard Bank whose sole signatory is President Peter Mutharika
PI Limited deposited the funds in the DPP account immediately after getting a K2.7 billion payment for an MPS food rations contract.
The K145 million is suspected to be part of proceeds of payment which ACB has been investigating.
In their arguments lawyers representing DPP and Pioneer Investments- Chancy Gondwe and Frank Mbeta , respectively argued that Mzuzu-based YAS led by Charles Kajoloweka, is not in a position to sue both parties on behalf of Malawians as per the Constitution.
“The law gives powers to the Attorney General and ACB to prosecute and be prosecuted on behalf of Malawians. Giving such powers to every organisation in the country will create chaos. Yas has not demonstrated how it has suffered by the issue at hand,” Gondwe said.
But lawyer Bright Theu represent YAS, argued that the civil society organisations (CSO) has every right to proceed with the case as it is representing the welfare of Malawians.
Theu told the court that the Attorney General is in a compromised situation hence, cannot competently represent Malawians as he is part of the governing DPP.
“Which Attorney General are we talking about? The same Attorney General who is the Member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which has been sued? The same Attorney General who committed the government to paying a loan the second defendant got from CDH Bank when we paid the full contract price of the contract?” he queried.
While the matter continues in court, DPP’s announced on Saturday that it will refund the funds deposited into its bank account after State House initially described the K145 million as a normal donation
Making the announcement about refunding the money, DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said the party felt it right to have the money returned because of what he called a “public misunderstanding”.
He said: “In the interest of transparency, the account was opened to save funds for purchasing the party’s regional headquarters. All payments from this account were made to purchase the party headquarters and meet other party expenses. No money went to the President personally or any other official of the party.”
Malawi Law Society (MLS) president Alfred Majamanda has argued that DPP’s move is an admission of wrongdoing; hence, the party wants to show remorse by giving back the money.
Majamanda called for the graft-busting body to institute an investigation and get to the bottom of the matter.
“It [DPP’s gesture] is an indication that they have indeed realised that the money might be as a result of corrupt activities so they don’t want to be associated with that. At which point, it also means that the ACB ought to get to the bottom of it to find out how one could give such kind of a donation to a [political] party.
“The return of the funds may also be, as it happens in other criminal matters, where you return funds in order to reduce the wrongdoing; to reduce the culpability in order to have a lesser sentence. It might also be a way of indicating that they know that there was wrongdoing in that, but they want to show remorse by giving back the money,” said Majamanda in quotes reported by the local press.
Meanwhile, High Court Judge Jack N’riva has adjourned the K145 million court case to next Monday.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :