Joyce Banda still risks arrest: ACB says corruption probe on Mudzi Trust reaches advanced stage

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)  says its investigations on donations made to the Mudzi Transformation Trust, an initiative of former president Joyce Banda, have reached an advanced stage.

Matemba: Anti-Corruption Bureau is continuing with investigations on the donations that were made to Mudzi Transformation Trust.

The five-year project, which started in 2013, sought to build houses for vulnerable people with a target of 20 000 villages nationwide. However, just over 500 houses were built at the end of Banda’s term in May 2014.

The ACB investigation is in relation to donations companies exploring for oil on Lake Malawi made to the trust, among them drugs, medical supplies and maize.

ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba said so far the Bureau has made remarkable progress on investigating Mudzi Transformation Fund on allegations that part of the money it receive from abroad was not used for the intended purpose.

“The Bureau received complaints that the former President received huge sums of money from one of the Oil and exploration company in return to allow the company to conduct oil exploration oil on Lake Malawi.

“Our investigations are proving that such transaction really took place. But what has delayed ACB on this matter is that investigations have also revealed that Banda transferred to her personal foreign banks accounts part of the  money donated to  Mudzi Transformation Fund by the [oil] company,” ACB Director explained.

Matemba said the Bureau is linking up with foreign financial institutions to get information that would lead to the conclusion of the investigations surrounding Mudzi Transformation Fund.

It is reported that the  investigation is on  donated drugs and medical supplies worth over $1 million (about K730 million) handed over to Banda at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe in March 2014.

In February 2014, the Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation of United Arab Emirates also donated 13 500 metric tonnes of maize which Banda directed should be handled through Mudzi Transformation Trust. Parliamentary candidates for Banda’s People’s Party (PP) were tasked with the job of identifying beneficiaries.

The donations were allegedly part of the corporate social responsibility component of the licences awarded to the companies, but these were misused.

Mudzi Transformation Trust was established through the Trustee Incorporation Act in 2013 but it has remained inactive since Banda went out of government in June 2014.

Banda launched the initiative in May 2013 at Nthoso Village, Traditional Authority Khongoni in Lilongwe.

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