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CSOs demand action on Peter Mutharika vehicles

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By Richard Chirombo:

Pressure continues to pile on President Peter Mutharika, in the wake of revelations that he accepted five vehicles from businessperson Zameer Karim, the latest development being Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRCC)’s call for the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament to institute investigations into the issue.

HRCC further says, should the investigation incriminate the President, impeachment proceedings should be instituted.

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In a statement released on October 22 2018, the grouping calls for immediate action following revelations that Karim— who runs Pioneer Investment— donated five vehicles worth K85 million to Mutharika.

But State House Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalirani, denied that Mutharika personally benefit from the vehicle donation, with Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services records indicating that change of ownership was managed by a proxy, State House employee Dabble Disi.

HRCC’s statement, titled ‘President Mutharika’s Corruption Scandal: A Call for Pac to immediately act on the matter’, has been signed by chairperson Timothy Mtambo and his deputy Gift Trapence and the coalition’s regional leaders.

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“We, at Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), are sickened with more disturbing media reports of President Professor Peter Mutharika’s implication in the corruption involving Pioneer Investments and Malawi Police Service (MPS). According to recent media reports, President Mutharika accepted five vehicles worth K85 million from Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investment, a year after the dubious food rations deal. This is despite the fact the President vehemently denied personally benefitting from the fishy deal.

“The recent reports that substantively implicate the President come right after Mutharika benefitted [sic] an amount of K145 million deposited in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) [sic] where he is the sole signatory,” reads the statement in part.

HRCC further says it is disillusioned with “the level of impunity with which such a serious matter has been treated by the country’s graft-busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)”, accusing the graft-busting body of being “an accomplice in corruption involving the President and the ruling party zealots in the country”.

It cites the manner in which ACB cleared Mutharika in the MPS food rations deal.

It adds that Parliament should institute investigations and come to the bottom of the matter.

“The Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament should immediately institute further probe on the matter to get to the bottom of everything, as per its mandate. If the findings incriminate the President, then Parliament will have to institute impeachment proceeding against the [sic] President Professor Peter Mutharika. Now is the time for Parliament to live up to its promise and save this country from unacceptable and unprecedented impunity and executive thieving,” HRCC demands.

The coalition further demands that action should be taken on Karim for his involvement in the deals.

The other demand is a familiar one; that ACB Director Reyneck Matemba should resign.

We could not reach Matemba Tuesday but, reacting to a similar call from HRCC in August this year, he said ACB employees work professionally.

He said this after HRCC asked for his head on August 16.

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