Malawi President Peter Mutharika has rushed to court to file defamation charges and seek an order restraining leading online publication Nyasa Times from further publishing the issue of K92 billion Cashgate linked to the Head of State.
The law suit also includes Mutharika’s fierce critic barrister Z. Allan Ntata and the President wants to be paid damages.
In the lawsuit, according to court records seen by Nation on Sunday newspaper, Ntata – legal adviser to the President’s elder brother, Bingu wa Mutharika, who ruled the country from 2004 until his death in April 2012 – published an article on Nyasa Times on June 22 this year, alleging the President is implicated in the K92 billion Cashgate.
Ntata further claimed in the article that the President was delaying to release forensic report of the K92 billion Cashgate under his late brother’s eight-year rule because he was involved, citing the court records.
The lawsuit has been lodged at the court by lawyers Tembenu, Masumbu and Company.
Nyasa Times had quoted what Ntata wrote on his Facebook page that a Mrs Sadiq of HTD allegedly defrauded government close to K20 billion on bogus purchases of motor vehicles and that President Mutharika is closely linked to and associated with HTD and the bogus payments could be linked to him.
Mutharika said in their natural and ordinary meaning of the published words, they meant he [the President] is engaged in fraud and corruption.
The President claimed: “[The words also mean I am] engaged in dubious transactions with HTD…involved in the looting of public purse from Capital Hill known as Cashgate. In consequence, [my reputation] has been seriously injured.”
Apart from seeking damages for defamation, is seeking an injunction to stop Ntata and Nyasa Times, their servants or agents, from further publishing or causing to be published the said defamatory article of the plaintiff.
Ntata and Nyasa Times are yet to give their reaction the lawsuit.
The K92 billion (US$206.7 million) Cashgate was reportedly mismanaged during the first Democratic Progressive Party (DPP over the eight years of the presidency of the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
With financial assistance from the German government, the Auditor General’s office released a data analysis report -conducted by audit and business advisory firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC)- as a first step towards a full forensic audit which would take approximately 10 months.
The data analysis cost German taxpayers 250 000 euros (K125 million), according to National Audit Office and identified discrepancies between payments made from government bank accounts and cashbook records held in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :