PAC asks Malawi govt to discontinue Muluzi case: ‘Chakwera, MCP took this position in parliament already’

Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a quasi-religious governance watchdog, has asked government to discontinue  the case of  former president Bakili Muluzi’s alleged K1.7 billion corruption case, a position which it  says was already advanced in parliament by President Lazarus Chakwera and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) while in opposition.

Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi: His case has dragged on for years
PAC chairperson monsignor Patrick Thawale and Bishop Matonga sympathise with Muluzi over politically motivated K1.7bn case

PAC formed in 1992 during the country’s political transition from one-party to multiparty system of government said in a statement assessing the year 2020 which tackles governance issues, saying the Muluzi case should  be discontinued and “a political solution should be sought as it has been a waste of taxpayers money.”

In a statement, co-signed by PAC chairperson Patrick Thawale and publicity secretary the Reverend Gilford Matonga, the body cites the lengthy court case that dates back to 2005 as a waste of public funds.

Muluzi, 80 is being tried along with his former secretary Lynes Whiskey  as government claimed 1.7 billion Malawian kwacha ($12 million)  in the former president’s account during his 1994-2004 presidency came from donors.

But court documents shows most of the funds were from his business empire and donation for his political party campaign from Taiwan, Morocco and Libya which were paid in his name and not for government.

PAC observed the case of Muluzi “became a political tool in the fight against corruption” when his handpicked successor late Bingu wa Mutharika came to power.

The quasi-religious body question the  rationale of spending taxpayers money in such matter which has not yielded results in  the past 14 years.

“PAC is of the view that the matter be discontinued through dialogue in  a bid to secure a political solution. The government expenditure on such a prolonged matter  is huge and the tendency to activate such a matter for political gains has been a dent in the pursuit of the rule of law.

“The use of a statute in such a manner is tantamount to the ‘weaponization’ of the law – a view that has been previously voiced,” reads the  statement in part.

PAC also cites previously pronounced positions made by Chakwera and members of MCP while in opposition benches in parliament  when they called for discontinuance of Muluzi’s case.

“We further take notice of remarks made in the Year 2020 by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) asking government to drop all corruption charges against former  president, Bakili Muluzi. On this point we recall that the party’s Member of Parliament for Kasungu South East, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, made a plea on 25th February during Parliamentary deliberations asking government to drop the charges against Dr. Muluzi,” reads the statement.

Chiponda, now Minister of Health, is on record to have  said in parliament: “The former president is ageing. I feel the case has become torturous to him and it is costing taxpayers money.”

PAC strongly calls upon the current regime to ensure that the matter takes the route of political solution.

“By taking this position, PAC is in no way stating that people must go scot-free in the fight against corruption nor do we condone abuse of office. From public policy point of view, the matter has been a waste of resources and an essential political tool for those in power to silence the Former Head of State,” the body said.

Former graft-busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)  director general  Reyneck Matemba recently also said the 14-year-old Muluzi case needs political solution.

Matemba doubted if the case can come to a conclusion using the judiciary.

“My own personal opinion is that the case needs a political solution, that is my personal opinion,” said Matemba without explaining much.

Matemba, a practising lawyer, recused himself from prosecuting the case,  citing personal reasons when he was deputy director at ACB.

His former boss director Lucas Kondowe had been on record saying he had serious “reservations” with certain aspects of the K1.7 billion corruption case.

The former ACB boss said before he joined the bureau, his opinion of the Muluzi case was like most people, “which was an opinion driven by the media reports that I had read from various sources.”

Kondowe said when he became head of ACB he requested to review the files to “understand the facts of the case thoroughly instead of just receiving the button and running with it.”

He said: “This is one of the best documented cases I have ever seen at the Bureau with over 16 files of material and a great amount of money spent travelling across the globe, conducting interviews and collecting data and various materials. Thanks to the British government which financed most of this work.

“I have also held private discussions with two of my predecessors who presided as DG(s) at the material time. I will not discuss the details of those discussions as they were private. I have enormous respect and admiration for these two great sons of Malawi for their service to the nation.”

Kondowe said: “I have expressed reservations with certain aspects of the case which I have discussed with my colleagues at the Bureau in great detail. We have had numerous debates on certain matters that I feel strongly about and would like these resolved as they would have dire consequences.”

The former president has always said the charges were politically motivated.

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BigMan
BigMan
5 months ago

He needs to be cleared in a court of law. PAC is useless, it should be discontinued.

Alamu Pumani Mwakalamba

Muluzi is not above the law and we should not set a wrong precedence here. Suppose CHakwera stole billions of Kwachas, are we going to spare him for that. Did Muluzi not arrest and put Kamuzu on trial in 1994-95? Did Muluzi not investigate Kamuzu accounts in UK thinking that the later was stealing our money. Let Muluzi face trial. I repeat we need people in high offices to be of high integrity and character. There was none in Muluzi. He was fired in MCP on the same grounds of stealing. He let corruption thrive in Malawi. The standards of… Read more »

mtete
mtete
5 months ago

Please make sure we don’t set a precedent

Mpakateni
5 months ago

The political solution will mean that Muluzi demands his son be included in the Tonse Cabinet and make it clear that he doesn’t lose his post in any Cabinet reshuffle. Alternatively, Muluzi will sue the Government and demand a lot of money. Whichever path Tonse Government will take, Muluzi is eager to squeeze you hard.

Atokwene
Atokwene
5 months ago

Nkhani ya Muluzi ilibe umboni wokwanira . Go and ask Matemba. He openly said no one can successfully prosecute that case . So PAC is really justified and it vindicates what Reneck said . There are volumes and volumes and files at ACB some of which are even missing at the moment. Even the inhouse prosecutors at ACB do not have comprehensive evidence to tender to Court. They just receive allowances, take ACB car to Blantyre , sleep at Ryals Hotel. eat nice breakfast than what they can afford at their unprotected homes in Area 23, 24 and 25, go… Read more »

Sayikoloni Ludzi
Sayikoloni Ludzi
5 months ago

If we can’t afford to hire a foreign high court judge to handle the case then indeed it must be dropped. Zinamveka kanthawi kena kuti majaji athu akuikana nkhaniyi pazifukwa zao ndipo ndayamba kukhulupirira tsopano. Ngati ndikunama ndiuzeni of course mlanduwu unaima koma uli mmanja mwa jaji uti?

Benjones87
Benjones87
5 months ago

As a Malawian I disagree with PAC. Malawian have suffered a lot because of muluzi. If he is guilty he had to face the law.

Bristone Mabichi
Bristone Mabichi
5 months ago

Akulu akulu mwalankhula zamveka, zikomo. Kuti izi zimveke ndipo dzikonso likhululuke ndife amene Muluzi anatibera osati OChakwera ayi. K1.7 billion tikudziwa komwe iri ndipo chimodzi cha zithuzo ndi Kheza Park abwezere kwa aMalawi. Tiwerengerane katundu yemwe K1.7 idagula basi mulandu watha. Mufuna kuti OChakwera akatenga yawo K1.7 billion tizizanena zomwezi. A Muluzi bwezani katundu yense yomwe ma billion anagula kwa aMalawi.

Masharubu
Masharubu
5 months ago

If there is a group that has an exaggerated sense of its own importance in Malawi, it is PAC. Through the years, they have been going to dine and wine with Malawi’s rulers at State House without bringing any tangible benefits for the long suffering people of Malawi. As far as I am concerned, the only people who genuinely confronted authority in Malawi on behalf of the common person without an iota of fear for their own well being are the 1992 Catholic bishops and one Chakufwa Chihana. The rest, including PAC, are mere opportunists pretending to fight for the… Read more »

Mzakwacha Nixon's
Mzakwacha Nixon's
5 months ago

PAC…. Don’t be stupid on Bakili case Mzomera Ngwira,Uladi Mussa etc are serving jail term with corruption of not even a million Kwacha,in case of Ngwira….why must Bakili be forgiven,munadya nayo eti…MK1.7 billion,Alot of money,he must pay back or let him lot in Jail.. PAC,who did the accounts for you to come out, with what you are saying…. Mind you, PAC isn’t Malawi that whatever you say,tizikumcerani.Chakwera, don’t listen to them don’t forgive corrupt x president Muluzi. Happy New year PAC….we support you but not on forgiving Muluzi issue. Regards Mzakwacha Nixon Mzakwacha Village Bolero-Rumphi. ………………………………………. Durban Kwazulu Natal +27724922299… Read more »

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