Malawi democracy group warns against political victimization: Hands off FDH Bank, lawyers

The People’s Alliance on Democracy (Pade) has warned the the new administration of President Lazarus Chakwera against arbitrary arrests and victimization of perceived political enemies, saying such a path would affect the administration’s efforts to heal a broken nation.

Lawyer Mbeta who represented President Mutharika as second respondent in the election case, is being attacked on social media for a long-dead corruption case.

“Malawi faces numerous social, political and economic challenges. However, it seems there is an unwritten rule that every new government that comes in place in Malawi after national elections must victimize anyone or any organization or businesses perceived to have worked with the predecessor government. Instead of concentrating on improving the current political, social and economic situation, the new MCP’s Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and Tonse Alliance partners’ administration is quickly preoccupied with persecuting perceived political enemies.

‘Senior members of the UTM, a Tonse Alliance major partner, are the biggest connivers, attempting to settle political and personal scores against influential former Democratic Progressive party (DPP) leaders and sympathisers,” Pade claims in a made available to Nyasa Times.

In the statement signed by its executive director, Elise Chinsinga, Pade claims government would be arresting people and shutting down businesses allegedly involved in corruption during the past five  years of the DPP Government.

Lawyers, top government and parastatal officials have also been targeted, she says.

Pade says to  prepare people’s minds ahead of what they call heinous acts, the regime has unleashed its social media machinery to ‘expose’ various ‘corrupt’ people, including making pre-emptive narratives that such and such people will be arrested; such and such businesses would be shut; such and such public employees, especially CEOs of public institutions will be fired; and so on and so forth.

“A typical example of this mudslinging campaign was social media propaganda unleashed against a locally-owned FDH Bank. The bank is owned and managed by business magnet Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira.”

The Tonse Alliance government and its agents on the social media have been alleging that FDH Bank has been used by the former DPP  regime to siphon billions of Kwacha to enrich DPP leaders and Thomson Mpinganjira himself, reads the statement in part.

Pade claims that pre-emptive propaganda has been advanced to the effect that the new government will close all accounts held by government at FDH and institute a forensic investigation into alleged abuse of the accounts.

The organisations cautioned against plans to stifle a local bank, which employs thousands of Malawians directly and indirectly. Many Malawian businesses and families continue to survive because of the FDH Bank.

“FDH Bank is a law-abiding business institution with its operations governed by the Reserve of Malawi Act in line with international best practices. So, it is absurd and illegal for anyone just to wake up from their slumber and demand closure of government accounts at FDH without following laid-down procedures. It is defamatory for anyone to allege corruption and illegal operations at FDH without any backing evidence,” says Chinsinga, adding that FDH Bank has a robust Corporate Social Responsibility (SCR) portfolio targeted at supporting socio-economic growth focusing on enabling sectors of health and education.

Among notable CSR projects implemented, FDH Bank has ongoing scholarship sponsorships at UNIMA and MUST that caters for 26 students; the refurbished and ongoing support of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Cancer HDU; the re-equipped and refurbished Makwasa Paediatric HDU Unit; and the Mayor’s Trophy sponsorships in the main cities, among others.

FDH Bank is also a proud sponsor of the Netball Association of Malawi and the Netball team ‘The Queens’ as well as the Football Association of Malawi and the Football team ‘The Flames’, according to the statement.

The victimization plot, says Pade, also targets lawyers “who have been professionally serving the former DPP Government as well as former President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, including Charles Mhango, Chancy Gondwe, Bob Chimkango, Frank Mbeta, Christopher Masanje, Davie Kanyenda, Samuel Tembenu and Kalekeni Kaphale.

“In a typical case of witch-hunting, lawyer Mbeta, who ably represented President Mutharika as second respondent in the election case, is being attacked on social media for a long-dead corruption case.

“In the case, which the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) brought against him in 2015, Mbeta was accused of offering MRA Information and Communications Technology (ICT) security manager Wilson Upindi K2 million to delete information from three computers seized from a suspect in tax evasion, Karamat Ullah Chaudry.

“The matter did not see the light of the day because Zomba High Court Judge Zione Ntaba ruled in favour of Mbeta that the ACB warrant of arrest was irregular,” reads the statement.

Pade further  urges President Chakwera against removing top public officers without following laid down procedures and wasting taxpayers’ money in the process on compensations.

In conclusion, Pade says it is important for President Chakwera to guard against bad advice and bad advisors.

“It is said that a President is as good as his advisors. Many times, the quality of decisions that a President makes reflects the quality of advisors that he has surrounded himself with,” reads the Pade statement, adding that Chakwera should avoid creating a conductive environment for civil disobedience, least of all from the very people that gave him support during the last election.

The grouping wants Chakwera to ensure that Malawi is governed in accordance with democratic principles; safeguard the inherent dignity of the individual in accordance with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and ensure that the Government and all public institutions provide equal opportunities to all citizens, women and men alike, irrespective of a person’s colour, tribe, religion or status among others.

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Wiza
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Wiza

The law must be followed in any case. The only problem with DPP is that it used nepotism to run affairs as such when arrests are being made for breaking the law, people from the same area will be victims just because they were the ones running different institutions at the top. If for example, 99% of Parastatals were run by Mulhakho and all the 99% abused resources or were mismanaged, all the Mulhakho heads will roll. It appears as persecution but the lesson that can be drawn there is very clear. Cashgate had culprits from all over the country.

Nyusesi
Guest

These arrests are politically motivated. This is nothing less than political witch hunting. Soon Chakwera shall lose popularity due to this selective justice. We are watching all this closely. But we are not surprised because this is what “one-term-presidents” do. Good luck to you all political hunters.

Bwana Wa Ulesi
Guest
Bwana Wa Ulesi

I second u. Why are they sidelining JB, Kasambara and the rest?

Justice for all
Guest
Justice for all

You pade where was this group all this time anyone who found guilty of anything against moving the country forward pls be prepared or kindly return what u stole all ur past times I urge president chakwera and chilima not to be shaken with anything bcoz all malawians we deserve accountability they must work towards recovering all our stolen resources and funds thank you

Mboba
Guest
Mboba

Who are these folks? are they malawians in diaspora? or DPP sponsored cadet trying to buy sympathy – PADE we say sorry we are not sympathysing with u idiots

Mashatini
Guest
Mashatini

Ma Rubbish!!!. PADE ndekjuti chani? musova simunati. The record has just started. You will dance together till to the end when all the thieves are brought to book.

Ndata Boy
Guest

Why is PADE speaking as if there is are evidences to the said crimes, people who are are picked are charged according to the crimes committed and evidence is available in files and witnesses thereto

God is with Us = Emmanuel
Guest

It’s a well known fact that Thom Mpinganjira wanted to bribe the judges. We all know that FDH was where the money from RBM to MEC went through. Please let justice prevail. If Thom Mpinganjira is innocent let him prove it in the court. Basi. We wanted change because we got tired of corruption starting with Muluzi. People trusted the MCP leader to lead the Tonse Alliance and we did not want our taxes to be wasted by two families.

Chitolerapapo
Guest
Chitolerapapo

Go ahead Pade. We need organisations like yours to check the ng’ona party otherwise seems Chakwera is abusing the government machinery by using it to silence all his opponents. But malawians are watching and its doubtful if they will vote you again.

Kaysoul
Guest
Kaysoul

Frank Mbeta your warrant of arrest is waiting for you-BRIBERY CASE. Others are busy changing title deeds of their houses, lands, houses and others now.

mchisala
Guest
mchisala

My advice is: Please prioritize RECOVERY of plundered Govt RESOURCES and later on court processes for situations where it is clear (there is documented evidence) Govt resources (money or property) was converted into PERSONAL PROPERTY!!! The court processes are likely to take time (these thieves will be using stolen money to hire crooked lawyers or even judges or prosecutors to gain acquittal)!!!!!!!!

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