Malawi activist calls on Pres. Banda to declare assets

A vocal human rights activist Billy Mayaya has resounded the call for President Joyce Banda to declare her assets I the wake of reports that former president late Bingu wa Mutharika had accumulated wealth up to K61 billion in the eight years he was in power.

Mayaya told Nyasa Times that civil society wants President Banda to declare her assets as a matter of urgency.

“Civil Society is reiterating its demand for President Joyce to declare her assets in view of the recent revelations that late President Bingu Wa Mutharika who initially declared 150 million in 2004 accumulated additional finances amounting to 61 billion Kwacha,” Mayaya told Nyasa Times.

“She [President Banda] is under obligation by law to declare her assets. Her refusal to do so is raising suspicion that she may be tempted to contravene the law and follow temptation,” he added.

Mayaya: Declare assets
Mayaya: Declare assets

Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara is on record as having trashed calls for the President to declare her assets.

“There is no reason for her to declare her assets now because she was a member of the cabinet that was sworn in 2009. The Constitution, Section 88 (A) is very clear on this that the president or the vice president shall declare their assets within three months of being elected or appointed,” Kasambara said in July last year.

But Mayaya said President Banda need to declare her assets again.

“We call upon the Law Commission to review the Assets law in order to seal the current loopholes so that declaration is mandatory and an annual occurrence which scrutinises bank accounts and trends throughout one’s tenure as President,” said Mayaya.

“Additionally we want to see more action and vigilance on the part of the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Anti-Corruption Bureau and Fiscal Police as opposed to the current empty rhetoric and saber rattling,” he added.

Mayaya also said the civil society is demanding that the frozen assets of former president Mutharika “be directed to boosting public service delivery.”

Also commenting on ‘Bingu’s billions’, up-front Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito told the press that he is not surprised with the revelation that Mutharika amassed K61 billion in wealth during his eight-year rule.

Kapito said rather, he is worried that the current administration of Joyce Banda and People’s Party (PP) might steal more and that nothing is being done to prevent the situation.

“When I heard about the figure, I was not surprised at all because we have been fighting for the declaration of assets for long. Instead of collectively pushing for that, we are busy with irrelevant things,” Kapito said in remarks quoted by The Nation.

Kapito noted that when founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda left office in 1995, the first multiparty administration of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Bakili Muluzi investigated him resulting in the seizure of Press Trust and several properties.

And when Mutharika came into office, he started investigations into the K1.7 billion Muluzi allegedly deposited into his personal account at National Bank of Malawi in Zomba.

“So, instead of formulating measures that will ensure that the current government does not plunder public resources, we will be busy with the Mutharika issue,” said Kapito.

But government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu, who is also Minister of Information and Civic Education, insisted that President Banda already declared assets when she was Vice President.

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