Malawi government has made an impassioned appeal to the erstwhile ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to provide it with a contrary figure on the amount of money the Peter Mutharika administration plundered during the six years it was in power after the party claimed President Chakwera exaggerated the over K1 trillion (over $1 billion) was stolen through corruption.
Leader of Opposition, Kondwani Nankhumwa, told a news conference that DPP did not steal K1.3 trillion from the poor and struggling taxpayers.
Nankhumwa disputed that the figure Chakwera mentioned on Saturday is contained in the recent Auditor General’s report which looks into how the government managed its finances for the past two years.
But President Chakwera executive assistant and spokesperson Sean Kampondeni said if Nankhumwa disputes that K1 trillion was mismanaged or stolen, then he should tell Malawians the correct amount that as siphoned under his party’s watch.
“Since he deems himself to have a better grasp of the extent of theft under the DPP regime than the State President, let him enlighten Malawians about what exactly his party stole and mismanaged in the nine-years it was in power,” said Kampondeni.
He said Malawi has suffered years of DPP rule.
Chakwera said the scale of the plunder is worse than a 2013 corruption scandal known as Cash gate in which about $32 million government money was looted through dubious contracts, during the administration of former president Joyce Banda.
Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako, who is also government spokesperson, also said is President Chakwera exaggerated the depth and breadth if the plunder, then the DPP should state the correct figure it looted from the public coffers.
“That is our figure as government. That is what we have got. It will be helpful to us if we hear from them how much they looted. I am sure they have their own figure which may help us to compare,” Kazako said.
The minister emphasized that the Tonse Alliance government is energized by the response from the DPP, stressing that it is a clear sign of confession that the loot happened.
Kazako assured Nankhumwa that the incumbent administration is eager to work with the DPP leadership in bringing to book everyone that looted public money.
A University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political scientist Ernest Thindwa faulted Nankhumwa and the DPP refuting the looting claim, saying DPP should stop showing its arrogance and being unrepentant or unconcerned with one of the greatest heist in Malawi.
Meanwhile, in the TimesTalk phone-in programme on Times Radio on Tuesday, over 30 callers also asked Nankhumwa to provide a contrary figure of the looted resources.
Many callers argued that whether the figure is correct or not is pointless but the fact is that there was mismanagement of public funds under Peter Mutharika’s rule including during his brother Bingu wa Mutharika DPP-led administration and that Malawians also witnessed the massive plunder of duns that former president Joyce Banda and her People’s Party, now member of the Tonse Alliance led by Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Political analyst Humphreys Mvula has said it’s time for the Chakwera administration to show that no one is immune in the fight against corruption.
“The only time we are going to fight corruption is when we hold those people in the highest offices accountable,” he said. “We should not look at Mutharika as just a former president. But now that his immunity has gone, if he was involved or leads, lead to his office, he should be arrested. It is the only time in life that people will be afraid of corruption.”
President Chakwera initiated the crackdown on corruption after Mutharika lost the June 23rd presidential vote.
Several people have so far been arrested in connection to offenses committed during Mutharika’s administration. The DPP, now the main opposition party, says the campaign amounts to political persecution — allegations the new administration denies.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :