State House public relations in ‘crisis’? Defending the indefensible

In an attempt to fend off criticism of corruption which has directly linked President Peter  Mutharika as a beneficiary of K145million from Pioneer Investment, Presidential Spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani has issued a rebuttal exonerating the President from any wrong doing, saying the money was a donation for  Democratic Progressive Party -DPP headquarters construction project.

Another form of cashgate

However, the press release raises more questions than answers.

The account was opened by President Mutharika in 2015 and he is the sole signatory. Here lies the first problem: why should the President open an account in the name of the party when he is the sole signatory of the account? Where on earth have you heard a President opening an account in the name of the party and he is the sole signatory to that account? Does this not defeat the very essence of  transparency and accountability in the way funds are used? How would other party members such as treasurer or general secretary access the account to know how much is deposited or withdrawn?

The spokesperson further states that the “President is the sole signatory to the account to ‘ensure that the funds in that account are used effectively towards the said construction project”.

Here is the second problem. Which account ensures transparency and accountability in the way funds are used, the one signed exclusively by one person or one that is signed by several people?

Would party members know how much  is deposited or has been withdrawn if they do not have access to the account? And why should the president personally be handling the finances of the party as if responsible people like the treasurer and secretary general are not there?

Kalilani“maintains that there is character assignation campaign against President Mutharika and the DPP from a disgruntled politician who is using surrogates in some churches, the media and other state agencies”.

Here is another problem. The confidential report was authored by the Anti-Corruption Bureau after a meticulous investigation. If you read the report, the ACB was focused, thorough and precise in its investigation. It is naïve to shift the blame on the so-called “young immature politician for “leaking false information to defame and unseat the President” The expose is coming from the ACB and not the so-called youngman.

The spokesperson should be blaming the ACB for doing their work, if he believes it is sensible to do so. The ACB investigated the issue and they wrote factual information (i.e. what they found).  The presidential spokesperson is taking Malawians for granted for thinking that they will buy his story. Sorry, they will not. For God’s sake, where is the DPP treasurer and other party officials to open the account? Does it have to take the whole president to open an account in the name of the party, and be the only signatory?

The owner of Pioneer InvestmentZameer Karim is already answering corruption charges for defrauding government millions of kwacha. Now Malawians know that some of this money found its way into Mutharika’s account.  ACB should also prosecute police officers who connived with Karim to steal government  money. So far the police officers have not been prosecuted.

The ACB is also unequivocal on its position not to prosecute President Mutharika because of immunity provided by the constitution. This means that Mutharika is likely to be prosecuted after he leaves office like former President Bakili Muluzi.

It is a well-known fact that politicians and public servants connive with the business community and contractors to defraud government of millions. No wonder tenders or projects cost a colossal sum of money because of corruption.  There is serious moral decay among Malawian politicians from which they need to be delivered from.

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