Malawi Police Services on Monday summoned management of Chitakale Tea plantation belonging to Leston Mulli, one of Malawi’s most politically connected businesspersons during the Bingu WA Mutharika regime, asking the business conglomerate Mulli Brothers Limited to surrender its licenced firearms to police.
Police confirmed Mulli officials were questioned the officials of the Mulli Brothers in connection to the fatal shooting of a man identified by police as Nangwale from Tchaluwa village in Mulanje when he went to mount Mulanje near Chitakale Tea plantation for charcoal burning.
The law enforcers demanded Mulli officials to surrender all fire arms – though licenced- for an audit count on the legal guns possessed by the company.
The Police action follows President Joyce Banda’s public condemnation of the Mulanje shooting.
“What has happened in Mulanje is uncalled for. Who allowed these people to have guns? I am directing the police to thoroughly investigate the shooting and find out how the guns landed in the hands of such people. Why do they want to be killing us like that,” said President Banda at a public rally on Sunday
Mulli virtually controls Mulanje Mountain as his Mulli Brothers got a 10-year licence “to develop and provide eco-tourism services in Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve up to 2018 from June 2008.”
Ministry of Environmental Affairs confirmed it received reports of how the company is ill-treating the communities around the licensed area and that the licence was granted without tendering and the conditions in the licence are not adhered to.
The licence states that Mulli Brothers shall ensure that communities accessing benefits from the area in one way or another and continue to do so in harmony and the company could enter into partnership agreement with communities under the facilitation of the Department of Forestry.
The 10-year licence, starts from July 1 2008 and expires in 2018 and allocates 1 860.3 hectares of Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve to Mulli Brothers.