Malawi Law Society says Bingu’s K61bn wealth overblown – report

Malawi Law Society (MLS) has added its voice on the revelations that former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika accumulated about K61 billion (about $152m) wealth, saying the deceased estate may have been overblown.

According to published report, MLS secretary Felisah Kilembe said Mutharika had put some of the property under several trusts some of which are public trusts that are for the benefit of Malawians.

“According to the law what this means is that the property was disposed of inter vivos [while he was still alive] and could not therefore have been disposed of again at death, as it became the trusts’ property the minute it was given to the trust. As such all the property that is under the trust does not form part of the deceased estate”, Kilembe is quoted in the press on Monday.

Kilembe:Property under trusts cannot form part of deceased estate
Kilembe:Property under trusts cannot form part of deceased estate

She explained that “all properties under the Trusts does not form part of the deceased estate.”

But said late Mutharika’s other properties can still be investigated if there is suspsicion of wrongful- enrichment.

She called for strengthening of the Declaration of Assets law in the country.

Nyasa Times reported earlier that British High Commissioner Michael Nevin  said Mutharika’s wealth should be a wake-up call for the country to close any gaps in the fight against corruption.

Nevin said the country needs to strengthen its institutions involved in fighting corruption and tighten relevant laws to stop corruption and illegal accumulation of wealth.

“We really need to strengthen a lot of institutions, strengthen the laws and strengthen the ability to prevent such things from happening,” in an interview on Friday on the sidelines of an Extraordinary Annual Youth Consultative Forum (YCF)in Lilongwe.

Meanwhile, the Mutharika family is fighting in court with government which has since frozen all but one bank account of the former president in the case where it is demanding K5 billion in unpaid estate duty from Mutharika’s deceased estate, estimated to be worth about K61 billion.

On the other hand, former first lady Callista Mutharika has agreed with her step daughters Duwa and Tapiwa to appoint new administrators of the controversial estate.

Callista, who does not appear on the “last will” left by the late president, filed an application in the High Court to remove Duwa and Tapiwa as administrators of the estate.

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