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ACB helpless on Bingu Wa Mutharika wealth

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The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has said it is struggling to get information from other countries on the alleged former president Bingu wa Mutharika’s accumulation of unexplained real property and cash in numerous bank accounts.

This was disclosed when the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament summoned the ACB, National Audit Office (Nao) and Finance Intelligence Authority (FIA) to follow up on the Parliament’s January 2017 request for a probe into how the former leader found himself with alleged over K72 billion in real property and cash.

Director of Investigations at ACB Dan Mponda said when former ACB Director General Rezine Mzikamanda authorised investigation on the matter in July 2013, the bureau got some documentation from some companies that were hired to value the property, local banks and people who are said to have benefited.

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Mponda also said the bureau followed up most of local payments that Bineth Trust and other entities that belonged to Mutharika made.

“But the problem was where the bulk of the alleged property and bank accounts were said to be in other countries such as the US, the UK and Zimbabwe. We tried to get information through intelligence but it was not forthcoming,” Mponda said.

He said in March 2014, the bureau requested the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to help it link with the United States Department for Justice and also sent a blue notice to International Police (Interpol) to assist in getting information from the United States and other countries, respectively.

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“It took sometime before getting a response from the United States Department for Justice. We received it in May 2015 and when it came it was only to acknowledge receipt and asking us to provide more information. Actually, as the bureau, we were perplexed that we were asked the questions we were also looking for and that being a foreign jurisdiction, it has not been easy for us to get information,” he said.

According to the bureau, there has been no response from Interpol.

Mponda said the document which Member of Parliament (MP) for Mzimba West Harry Mkandawire submitted to Parliament and prompted Clerk of Parliament to write the investigating agencies to probe Mutharika’s wealth is actually an extract from what ACB sent to Interpol.

Former leader of house George Chaponda had doubted the authenticity of what Mkandawire submitted and asked the Speaker of Parliament to disregard it.

The ACB Director of Investigations said in one of the local bank accounts, there was some mismatch between what was alleged to be in the bank account and the actual balance.

Mzikamanda authorised an investigation after The Daily Times of June 4 2013 reported that Mutharika had over K61 billion at the time of his death.

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