Forum wants Mutharika’s houses seized , petitions govt on asset declaration

The Forum for National Development (FND) has petitioned government to repossess its houses sold to politicians and Cabinet ministers without following procedures.

Among several high profile personalities in the housing scam includes opposition DPP’s presidential candidate in May elections Peter Mutharika, who is also brother to former President Bingu wa Mutharika.

The former cabinet ministers and other individuals are being accused of buying several Lilongwe City Council and Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) houses at prices lower than the market price.

The scam led to the firing of the MHC General Manager Golden Matiya following an initial investigation into the scam by the DPP government. However, those who purchased the houses have gone unpunished.

Peter Mutharika: Bought public houses for a song
Peter Mutharika: Bought public houses for a song

On Wednesday, FND Chairman Bright Kampaundi accompanied by about 30 people delivered the petition to Lilongwe City Assembly Chief Executive Officer Richard Hara which gave the authorities 14 days to confiscate houses bought by Peter Mutharika and the Bineith Trust.

In the petition, the grouping has called the assembly to reverse all sell of property especially residential houses that were at prices lower than the market price to staff, politicians and other individuals with immediate effect.

“We would also want to reposes all properties that was meant for the people of Lilongwe City from the people that purportedly acquired them and that all staff who were offered houses in 2006 and have not paid up to now leaving the Lilongwe City Council defrauded with the amount be reversed and that the staff should not be compensated within 21 days,” reads part of the petition signed by the forum’s chairperson Bright Kampaundi and national coordinator Fryson Chodzi.

Among other houses, the petition mentions plot numbers 3/028 and 3/048 both at Glyn Jones Road in Lilongwe and bought by Bineth Trust, plot number 12/174 and 12/365 in Lilongwe bought by Mutharika

“With this in mind, we demand that the assembly withdraw all the houses offered to politicians and ministers under the Malawi Housing Corporation scam 2010 within 21 days,” says the petition.

“Malawi has been going through the following pains: …hardworking, taxpaying citizens failing to get a plot in suburb Areas of 43, 9, 12, 47, Nyambadwe and BCA Hill which they would honestly pay for yet politicians were acquiring this land for free.”

Asked why they are only targeting Mutharika and Benith Trust, Kampaundi said they are taking the issue step by step.

“We are not trying to be political, but we want to tell the people out there what type of leaders they may vote into power,” he said.

About 22 houses where shared among ministers including Mutharika and senior officials at MHC, a parastatal.

In the scam, Mutharika enjoyed a 62 per cent discount.

Commenting on the issue, Mutharika’s aide Ben Phiri said all proper procedures were followed when purchasing the houses.

“If they have issues they should pursue them legally and not politically. I also urge them to go back and do their homework because the same Malawians they are trying to are the same people that want DPP to come back so we wonder who they are representing,” he said.

Some of those involved in the scam are Justice Jane Ansah and Hon Henry Phoya among others.

The forum also asked all Cabinet ministers and senior civil servants to declare their assets in light of the cashgate scam.

“Can all the present ministers, members of Parliament and senior civil servants make a declaration of assets stating what they have, how they acquired what they have and also business interests they have?” reads the petition in part.”

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