Kapito calls for scrutiny of wealth declared: Ben Phiri defends Mutharika’s assets

The country’s consumer and human rights activist, John Kapito, has called on the Malawian public to carefully scrutinize the assets declarations by public officers including President Peter Mutharika.

Ben Phiri (left) says President Mutharika made known what he owns  in accordance with the law
Ben Phiri (left) says President Mutharika made known what he owns in accordance with the law

Mutharika, his deputy Saulos Chilima, former president Joyce Banda, Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya and leader of opposition Lazarous Chakwera have made their assets public in accordance with the country’s constitution.

But there have been a lot of questions on the wealth declared, with critics suspecting the details to be exaggerated.

“How did these people manage to have so much wealth when people are languishing in poverty?” Kapito, executive director of the Consumers Association of Malawi, queried.

“We need to audit and continue monitoring the wealth [of politicians],” he said.

Section 88 of Malawi’s constitution requires presidents and cabinet ministers to declare their assets – and those of their spouses – within three months of their election or appointment.

However, the declarations were postponed after Malawi’s Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations gave public officials until December 31, 2014 to make them.

Director of Public Officers’ Declarations (DPOD) Christopher Tukula has since warned that those that might have doctored assets in their declarations will have to face the long arm of the law as physical verifications are expected to be done soon.

Mutharika’s declaration of wealth fits him in the bracket of the country’s billionaires as declared that he had about $10 million deposited in banks in Malawi and the United States.

The details of his declared wealth show that Mutharika had a number of bank accounts both within and outside Malawi containing close to 4 billion Malawi kwacha (roughly $10 million) in cash.

The Malawi leader has over $8 million in two U.S. bank accounts. In Malawi, Mutharika has about $1.7 million at a local bank, along with a fleet of nine vehicles that he reportedly bought between 2001 and 2014.

Special aide to President Mutharika, Ben Phiri told the local radio Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) on Friday that the Malawi leader has made his assets public in accordance with the country’s constitution.

“He is operating within the law,” said Phiri.

He dismissed assertions that the wealth declared may be exaggerated. Asked if the President can explain how he attained his wealth, Phiri said the law does not provide such provision.

“The law says he should declare and it does not say that he should explain what he declared,” said Phiri.

The idea behind the declaration of assets by elected or appointed officers is to check whether whatever assets they acquire while in office is commensurate with the perks of their offices.

Late president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died suddenly of cardiac arrest in 2012, had in May 2004 declared his wealth to be around K150 million.  However, in an assessment of his estate after his death valued his wealth at K61 billion.

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Nsanje Basi
9 years ago

Kufuna kutchuka chani? Were you baying for their assets to look for a loop hole to start asking for the scrutiny of these assets?! Or were you asking for it to make fun of them? Or have you been influenced by the drunkard Muckraker who has an inborn hate for Muthalikas?! Since DPP came into existence is their any story written by this corrupt and biased senior editor positive for the Muthalikas and DPP? Mr. Kapito why always commenting on politics? Is this the basis for the establishment of CAMA? No wonder we are dosed by expired consumables ranging from… Read more »

9 years ago

I hope he was paying taxes like all Malawians – if so MRA must confirm that indeed he has clean hard earned wealth. We are suffering from $ shortage and he is keeping $ outside what type of nonsense is this – ife a malawi tili stupiidti

9 years ago

Peter ndi olembedwa nchito. Si nsanje ayi. As a top civil servant he is required by law to declare his assets to the last tambala. If you DPP supporters are not comfortable with it why cant you ask your president to step down and give way to law abiding citizens.

9 years ago

He deserves

9 years ago

As soon as the present law is revoked, there will be no need for declaration of assets and everyone will be guided by new law and no more complaints on poverty levels because the new law will recognise what should be followed.

9 years ago


Manzy bway
Manzy bway
9 years ago

Comment loading…………

9 years ago

Comment loading

9 years ago

Daz dis declaration bill exist in othr countries? W@ i c a Malawi lets focus on reducing the gap btwin the poorest an richest, or else God will tak the wrld while malawi is steel poor! Greedy z w@ gvt shld abolish!

9 years ago

azilamula olemela kale osati okudya makaka ngati zinazi

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