President Peter Mutharika has told a reputable UK based Financial Times newspaper that politics is at the root of vice-president Saulos Chilima’s allegations of corruption against him, saying they are “complete nonsense”.
Chilima, a 45-year-old former telecoms chief executive was handpicked by Mutharika to run alongside him in 2014 on the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) ticket but in June this year he quit the DPP citing corruption and nepotism. He has accused his boss of high-level graft, including over a $4m contract to provide rations to Malawi’s police force, called the scandal “the tip of the iceberg”
Following mounting calls for him to run in the May 2019 vote, he launched the United Transformation Movement (UTM), seeking to unseat the 79-year-old Mutharika, a former law professor.
Speaking to the Financial Times from his presidential palace in the capital Lilongwe, Mutharika described allegations of corruption levelled against him as “complete nonsense”, sayingsa politics was at the root of Chilima’s claims.
“He has simply decided he wants to be president,” said Mutharika.
“It is complete nonsense — it is all perception. Corruption is not greater now than it was before [the Cashgate revelations].”
He continued: “We are doing more development than at any time in the country’s history. If there was so much corruption there would be no money to do what we are doing.”
However, Chilima argued that corruption has worsened since Cashgate—the financial scandal involving looting of huge billions of taxpayers’ money at Capital Hill, echoing US President Donald Trump with calls to “drain the swamp”.
Civil society groups are organising anti-government protests on Septemebr 7 where among other thinsg they want to ask President Mutharika to step down after money linked to the $4m police contacts found its way into bank accounts of the ruling party.
Malawi’s main opposition party has called for the president to resign over a scandal that has provoked popular anger.
Mutharika insisted that K145 million (about $200,000) received as a political donation from the controversial supplier Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investments was returned as soon as the party discovered possible links to corruption.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :