President Peter Mutharika has dismissed reports that accuses him of fraudulently benefiting from K2.8 billion government contact, calling it “fake news” as part of a ploy to smear him ahead of a national election next year.
The denial came amid reports from several news organisations, citing Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) leaked report that suggest Mutharika may have benefitted from K145 million that a supplier deposited in a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account for which he is the sole signatory.
Graft-busting body has been investigating a $3.9 million Malawi police food supply contract awarded to Pioneer Investments – a firm owned by an Asian-born Malawian businessman Zameer Karim who reportedly deposited the money.
Mutharika has blamed his detractors for fabricating the matter with malicious intention.
“I did not personally benefit in any way from the contract and that’s why I am concerned about the lack of truth. I am worried about what our country has become in as far as peddling of fake news on social media is concerned,” said Mutharika as quoted by Reuters.
“I do understand that it’s election season and my opponents will come up with all manner of lies to in an attempt to win the hearts and minds of people.”
Malawians next go to the polls in May 2019 to elect the president, parliament and ward councillors.
Mutharika said he had made it clear that graft isn’t acceptable. He said he’d fired a senior cabinet minister George Chaponda who was implicated in wrongdoing, refused to shield senior several government and party officials from investigations and backed greater independence for the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
“We are fighting corruption,” he said in another interview with Bloomberg News. “The massive corruption thing has become more of a cliche, it’s political now. It’s a collective effort. If we all work together we can stop this scourge, but not one person.”
Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani has also made an apparent attack to vice-president Saulos Chilima to have coordinated and sponsored character assassination campaign against President Mutharika and the DPP.
Kalilani said President Mutharika “never beniffitted” from the police deal “and he did nothing wrong.”