After receiving a barrage of criticism on President Peter Mutharika’s his wealth, the Office of the Director of public Officers Declaration has corrected an amount which was indicated that Mutharika holds in a bank in the United States of America (USA) from $8 million (around K3.4 billion) to now $2 million (around K840 million) and not in the foreign account.
In Malawi, Mutharika has about $1.7 million at a local bank, along with a fleet of nine vehicles that he reportedly bought between 2001 and 2014.
Assets director Christopher Tukula said he was approached by State House officers sent by Mutharika to query the figure which was made public in the assets documents, and that he called for original documents which the President submitted and agreed that the handwriting was ambiguous, hence officers ended up entering a wrong figure.
“When we checked the original record submitted, we agreed the handwriting was equivocal, but the figure was indeed $2 million. So the figure we have corrected is the one in our system, which we released to people or organisations, that accessed the declaration,” said Tukula.
A legal expert and human rights activist, Justin Dzonzi, said there would be nothing wrong with correcting a genuine mistake as long as the correction ties with the actual bank statement.
Mutharika, his deputy Saulos Chilima, former president Joyce Banda, Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya and leader of opposition Lazarous Chakwera have made their assets public in accordance with the country’s constitution.
Section 88 of Malawi’s constitution requires presidents and cabinet ministers to declare their assets – and those of their spouses – within three months of their election or appointment.
However, the declarations were postponed after Malawi’s Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations gave public officials until December 31, 2014 to make them.