Malawians ‘tap wisdom’ from Mulli in doing business – Columnist

A columnist in the Malawi’s financial publication, Business Times, has urged entrepreneurs to learn lessons from leading business conglomerate, Mulli Brothers Limited (MBL).

In his Talking Entrepreneurship column published in the Business Times of Wednesday November 26, Dr Ndione Chauluka argued that Malawian interpreters can tap wisdom for Leston Mulli, the tycoon behind MBL.

“I believe there is something we can all learn from Leston MullI,” Wrote Chauluka.

“Let us all look at our discussion from the business point of view. The question we all need to ask ourselves is whether there is anything we can learn from Mulli Brothers Limited and its Chairman? We can equally ask if Mulli Brothers Limited has learned any lesson/s from the harsh business escarpment. Putting this talk straight, does dependence on a political party yield a very strong business base,” the columnist wrote.

Leston Mulli: The journey continues

Until April 2012, his business empire—Mulli Brothers Limited—was government’s point of call for anything from road haulage of grains and petroleum products, importation of drugs and fertiliser for the Farm Input Subsidy Programme, and was even entrusted with the management of bus terminals and depots across the country under the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Mulli Brothers grew extremely big, creating so many job opportunities and controlling a significant chunk of the economy that created speculations whether government was helping the creation of another conglomerate after Press Corporation Limited.

But Mulli’s luck came to an abrupt end with the sudden death of Mutharika on April 5 2012. Despite having the capacity and experience to deliver which even World Bank vouched for, Mulli Brothers Ltd hasn’t got any major business deal with government since then.

This was reinforced by former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara’s directive last year September stopping all government ministries, departments and agencies from dealing with MBL Holdings Limited.

Kasambara—then doubling as Attorney General—claimed in his September 5 2012 directive that giving government business to MBL would jeopardise investigations into alleged corruption, money laundering and tax evasion charges against the company and its chairperson Leston Mulli.

The letter was copied to the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) with specific attention to director Dye Mawindo and the Office of the Vice-President for the attention of incumbent Khumbo Kachali.

Since then the current government has been squeezing Mulli businesses but he is still moving on despite limping.

However, the newspaper columnist pointed out that as business educator, if he were to be given an opportunity to hire adjunct university lecturers in entrepreneurship, business management, he would certainly hire Leston Mulli “to teach survival kits to our crumbling businesses.”

The Joyce Banda administration is determined to strangulate Mulli Brothers Ltd but the businessman says he will fight on.

Asked to comment on what the columnist wrote in the Business Times, Mulli told Nyasa Times: “I am humbled.”

He added: “All of us must learn to do business is hard work.”

Mulli said he believes in hard work and “delivering”, saying he was saddened that many were being paid millions from treasury recently when they have not supplied any service to government- in apparent reference to the cash gate scandal.

Asked how his business empire is now fairing, Mulli described it as a “journey”, saying all the fight against his business stems from “jealousy.”

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