Smear campaign rolled out in Malawi ‘cash-gate’

President Joyce Banda’s appointment of respected tough talking and a devout Muslim cleric , Fahad Assani has disturbed a major plan by suspects in the ‘cashgate’ multibillion kwacha scandal as they have now resorted to discredit the crackdown and launched a “paint them black smear campaign to garner public sympathy.”

Assani, a former no-nonsense Director of Public Prosecution revealed in 2001, ironically in October at the break of the K187 million scandal (then 3million USD dollars) that 30 percent of the country’s resources are lost through fraud and corruption.

President Banda on Tuesday made her bold intentions of fighting corruption well known by hiring Assani, who has never been a member of the ruling People’s Party and is known for his many court battles that mainly kept former president Bakili Muluzi and later former vice president Cassim Chilumpha out of prison.

“There is an ex-Minister who has been boasting that whoever takes over at Justice will be his collegue. The appointment of Assani shook him and he knew the President wanted him out. He then ordered his boys and engaged DPP officials to engage in smear campaign targeting the President, Vice President and senior PP officials,” said one of the insiders.

Justice Minister Fahad Assani:  Fearless i
Justice Minister Fahad Assani: Fearless in fighting corruption

The arrest of Leornad Kalonga, Chief Tourism Officer, who at grade P5 in  Civil Service was carting home K169,000 per month, but drove a Range Rover CZ41 and had a fleet of vehicles connected to many people including security chiefs from the DPP era, added more panic to the  opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) camp who have resorted to  “media manipulation”.

“Out of foolishness, after releasing a fabricated list of companies that anybody can check at the Registrar General, like in the case of the Vice President who is alleged to own Crossmarketing which does not exist, they rushed to Mutharika’s station to announce the fabricated list of those they think can out pressure on the President to relent,” said a journalist who claimed the Galaxy list was personally brought by Sylvester Namiwa, who harbors ambition to run for  parliamentary seat on DPP ticket  in Thyolo Central.

Crossmarketing is said to be owned by Luka Kasambara, who has even denied knowledge of the company to lawyers.

Hordes of people are planning to sue the Mutharika’s  Galaxy radio station already struggling to pay its workers and former workers salary.

Galaxy has also debts over K10 million for setellite link and with MTL which might see the latest careless propaganda close the station for good.

Namiwa and his colleague bypassed the Station’s Manager, and run a special commentary that shocked the journalism fraternity as their emotional and angry presentation lacked ethical or professional backing.

However, Viola and Namiwa gave away their masters when they ranted for 6 minutes, “This Government should not be talking of K61 billion or anything of the past. Let’s talk the K20 billion they have stolen. Apapa tawagwira tikambe za iwowo, za DPP kapena Bingu ayi,” charged Viola while Namiwa went on to critique President Banda as a “coward for not going to Parliament and sending the Vice President instead.”

“Clearly they have been sent to protect the DPP, because of the Presidents insistence that investigations covers the whole IFIMs system since 2005. Assani this weekend added salt to the injury by suggesting that all property might be seized after a legal process, every one in DPP knows that the party will be finished, if Bingu’s K61 billion was a shocker wait for billions that they looted on their own starting with Peter Mutharika through Ben Phiri, Leston Mulli and Edward Sawerengera,” said another.

At the time of his death, Bingu’s aides were pressing Ministry of Lands for plots in City Centre to build complexes.

Galaxy radio’s propaganda dominated the debate on Malawi journalists internet discussion forum on Sunday.

One noted on the Misa-Malawi  forum that there is a difference between “beer talk” and journalism, “not everything we say either here or in buses or pubs can be published. And not publishing such stories is not a factor of fear only. [Journalism]  profession has its dos and don’ts, no? If this is judging Galaxy I am guilty as charged.”

Another source told Nyasa Times: “Namiwa and Viola are just mercenaries in a battle they have never benefited anything except the K50,000 paid on Friday by the one who delivered the documents at Lilongwe Hotel.”

The target of the smear campaign are the President, her family, Vice President, Assani and a few selected officials known to be influential in having the matter concluded quickly.

The main stream media has been cautious with the “morally reprehensible and downright dirty” smear campaign.

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