Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa has Wednesday morning renewed order of restrictions on bank accounts for on immediate past president Peter Mutharika’s personal account and joint account with former first lady Gertrude Mutharika as well as that of his former bodyguard Norman Chisale and others.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau applied for renewal of the restrictions on the accounts arguing that continuing to freeze the accounts will help protect money that could have been proceeds of crime.
In August 2020, the ACB froze bank accounts of Mutharika, his wife Gertrude, former Malawi Revenue Authority deputy commissioner general Roza Mbilizi and Mutharika’s personal bodyguard Norman Chisale.
The decision was made in connection with an investigation ACB made into an alleged importation of cement worth K5 billion allegedly using Mutharika’s privileges as head of State.
The graft-busting body has stated that failed to complete its investigations due to an upsurge of covid-19 cases which affected some of its staff, according to a sworn statement filled on February 26 by ACB senior investigations officer Robert Mbuzi Mkandawire.
ACB asserts that the investigations are now complete and strongly believe Mutharika’s accounts constitute “proceeds of crime” as evidenced by material objective information which they have gathered which show thar, there was “suspicious movement of money” from Mutharika’s bank accounts to the others which cannot be justified.
The graft-busting body also intends to commence proceeding against Mutharika “to recover the money that was lost through the revealed corrupt practices.”
Former president’s lawyer Samuel Tembenu, who is also former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Mutharika’s administration, is on record to have accused ACB of “high level of crookedness” in the matter.
Section 23 (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act gives the bureau powers to freeze assets for preservation from disposal of suspected proceeds of crime pending conclusion on investigations.
The renewal order on the freeze of the bank accounts came exact time as the High Court in Lilongwe threw out an application by Mutharika and former secretary to President and Cabinet, Lloyd Muhara, to stay execution of order for costs in the Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice Edward Twea forced leave case.
The High Court earlier ordered the two to pay costs for the case after they were faulted for interfering with roles of the judiciary.
However, the two applied for stay for execution of order for costs which the court has dismissed.
High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda found no merit in the application to stay the order.
Nyirenda has further ordered the two to pay costs for the application to stay execution of order for costs.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :