The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will return the K145 million donation is received from Pioneer Investments suspected to have been proceeds of crime in Malawi Police Service (MPS) food rations scam, party spokesperson Nicholas Dausi has said.
Briefing the press in Lilongwe on Saturday, Dausi said the party has decided to return the money after the concerns that were raised about the donation.
There have been mounting calls for President Peter Mutharika to resign after a leaked report by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) accused him, on behalf of the DPP, of receiving a K145 million kickback from a contract to supply food rations to the police.
“In view of the misunderstanding created around the donation, the DPP has decided to return the money to Pioneer Investments because when this donation was made, the party received it in good faith like any other donation. But having seen the misunderstanding we thought we have to return the money,” Dausi said.
Dausi further quashed aside suggestions that the money was meant to benefit the President directly as he was the sole signatory of the Standard Bank account to which the K145 million cheque was deposited.
“The money was intended to help the party budget for its headquarters in Blantyre and use for other party expenses. The fact that the sole signatory President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika does not mean in any way that the money was meant for him as a person but, as any head of an institution can sign the money.
“And we want to say that the money was a donation to the party. And having heard a lot of things, we think it is only right and proper to return the money,” he said.
Dausi added that the DPP has been at the forefront of pushing for the Political Party funding legislation in Parliament, hence it is in that spirit that the money has to be returned.
However, Dausi was not forthcoming as to where the party will source the funds in view of the fact that the High Court froze the party’s account following an injunction by Mzuzu-based Youth and Society Organisation (YSO).
“We will return the money,” was his response.
Meanwhile, rights activist Gift Trapence, who is also deputy chairperson for Human Rights Defenders Coalition which has been pushing for justice on the matter, said the DPP’s announcement to pay back the money amounts to admission of guilty.
“This is evidence that they stole the money. The question is, how can they give the money to the same person whom they collaborated with to defraud government? What we have been asking them to do is to pay back the money to government coffers. This is an insult to Malawians and an act of impunity.
“As CSOs (civil society organisations), we will not be hoodwinked by this gesture. We will make sure that the law takes its course on the matter; to have wrong-doers brought to book,” said Trapence.
The development comes after Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) through Ritz Attorneys-at-Law have dragged DPP and PI Ltd to court demanding that the two institutions immediately refund the money.
A leaked dossier from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) into the K2.7 billion MPS food rations scam indicates that PI Ltd made an abortive interest claim of K466 million and deposited K145 million into a DPP bank account at Standard Bank whose sole signatory is Mutharika.
YAS argues that the governing party is aware that the said money represents proceeds of a fraudulent sham procurement by MPS officers and Karim of PI Ltd.
ACB director Reyneck Matemba said investigations into the K2.7 billion MPS food rations scam would be completed soon and arrests effected.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :