Malawi’s former President, Joyce Banda, has denied allegations by the Mail &Guardian(January 23, 2015) of South Africa that she issued an operating license to Dr. Rajan Mahtani, Chairman of Finance Bank, for the re-opening of Finance Bank in Malawi.
The report alleges the former Head of State received millions of US dollars from Dr. Mahtani to facilitate the reissuance of a banking licence to Finance Bank.
The office of the former President has described the report as “shockingly flimsy, irresponsible and deserving no merit at all”.
Banda’s office wonders why a “reputable media house like the Mail & Guardian” would stoop so low to even peddle falsehood and deceit, when the truth is just “a phone call away”.
According to a statement released by Banda’s office on Monday, January 26, 2015, “it is normal practice” for any Head of State to receive or to take courtesy calls of many people including investors.
“The President would then direct such investors to relevant authorities,” reads the statement in part.
“Indeed, Dr. Mahtani met Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda when she was President of the Republic of Malawi. Dr. Mahtani was accompanied by his lawyers and senior members of Finance Bank management. Their mission was to negotiate the reopening of Finance Bank in Malawi.
“The former President appreciated their interest to reinvest in Malawi but the responsibility to issue banking licences falls in the hands of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, as a regulatory authority for the registration of commercial banks,” continues the statement.
According to Banda’s office, the former president referred the matter to the Reserve Bank of Malawi to conduct of a ‘due-diligence’ exercise to ascertain whether or not Finance Bank may be allowed to return to Malawi.
The former Head of State was not informed of the final outcome of that ‘due-diligence’ exercise until she left office in May 2014, according to the statement.
The statement emphasizes that under the law, former President Banda had no authority to authorize the reopening of Finance Bank, let alone any bank, because that did not fall under her President’s jurisdiction.
“The former President is therefore utterly dismayed that she should be blamed for the re-opening of Finance Bank in Malawi eight months into the DPP administration under His Excellency President Peter Mutharika.
“The Mail & Guardian should have endeavoured to seek an official comment from the Reserve Bank of Malawi to ascertain what role former President Banda played in the reissuance of a license to Dr. Mahtani to reopen his Finance Bank in Malawi. It is blatant abuse of media freedom to make unfounded and unverified allegations against the former President,” reads the statement Nyasa Times has sourced.
Zambian-based Dr. Mahtani operated Finance Bank of Malawi for many years, across the regimes of United Democratic Front (UDF), under Bakili Muluzi and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) under the late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
It was under Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime that Finance Bank was closed after it allegedly flouted laws under the Banking Act.
Finance Bank of Malawi was set for re-opening in the Capital City, Lilongwe, on Monday, January26, 2015 after it was stripped of its licence in 2005 following allegations of money laundering activities and alleged use of ghost accounts.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :