Malawi’s graft bursting body, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which last week froze bank accounts belonging to the former President Peter Mutharika, his wife, Gertrude Mutharika, his top his security aide, who is currently on police remand, Norman Chisale, and the former Deputy Commissioner of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Roza Mbirizi says it has received a request from one of them to access the account in order to pay for medical expeses.
The bureau froze some bank accounts in connection with the ongoing investigations into the importation of 1, 200 bags of cement which were allegedly brought into the country using Mutharika’s Tax Payment Identification Number (TPIN).
ACB director Reyneck Matemba confirmed that the bureau is looking into the issue , saying the access may be granted considering authorities on similar cases by Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and the High Court which have in the past allowed people to have access to some funds from frozen bank accounts.
He, however, said the court only allowed access to “sufficient” funds to meet the reasonable general living expenses as well as medical expenses.
Matemba said there is no “standard way” of determining how much an individual may be allowed to withdraw from a frozen account.
“This is because reasonable general living expenses vary from one individual to another,” he said.
Matemba said ACB would need proof of other individual’s general living expenses in utility an medical bills.
“In the event that we do not agree, we would obviously have to take recourse to the courts for determination and proper guidance on what constitutes that individual’s general living expenses,” he stated.
ACB froze one bank account held by Mutharika individually and a joint account by him and his wife at New Building Society (NBS) and three accounts for Mbirizi at Standard Bank.
The accounts were frozen after the bureau recently noticed that huge amounts of money were being withdrawn from them.
ACB has been investigating the importation of cement from Zambia and Zimbabwe worth over K5 billion between 2018 and 2019 using former president Mutharika’s privileges.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :