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HRDC computing Atupele Muluzi’s invoice

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Gift Trapence

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has said it is finalising computing an invoice for DPP/UDF running mate, Atupele Muluzi, over illegal use of a convoy in the run-up to the June 23 fresh presidential elections.

HRDC also wants Muluzi to pay for enjoying Vice President privileges during the campaign when he was just a cabinet minister.

But Muluzi, in an interview, Monday denied any wrong doing, saying he was never granted vice president treatment.

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HRDC Chairperson, Gift Trapence, said they expect to come up with the invoice by end of this week but could not spell out the consequences Muluzi will face if he does not pay the money.

Trapence said Muluzi’s enjoyment of privileges not belonging to him was irregular, therefore the need for him to pay Malawians for the abuse.

“We are looking at a number of things. The number of vehicles he used, the number of policemen he was using as well as the number of days involved.

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“During the campaign period, Muluzi travelled to almost all the districts of the country on Vice President treatment. He must pay for this,” Trapence said.

He said the money wasted by Muluzi would have gone towards the development of the country, adding that when he pays, the money will go back to government coffers.

“We are also looking at who authorised such treatment. They too must answer and pay Malawians,” Trapence said.

Muluzi who was running mate to former president Peter Mutharika during the fresh elections, was spotted ridding on a lengthy convey which was heavily guarded by armed policemen during the campaign period.

The campaign period opened on May 2 and closed on the morning of June 21 before Malawians went to the polls on June 23.

But in an interview on Monday, Muluzi wondered why HRDC was targeting him as an individual.

He said at no given time did he enjoy vice president benefits, saying the benefits were being enjoyed by the then sitting vice president, Saulos Chilima.

He said the convoy he was using during the campaign was the same convoy he has been using as UDF president.

Muluzi added that his security was only beefed up when there was heightened security threats as a running mate during the campaign period.

“You remember there was an attempt to deny me passage in Mponera and other places so security had to be beefed up.

“Where I got additional security personnel I even paid allowances from my pocket,” Muluzi said.

Social Commentator, Makhumbo Munthali, doubted whether the invoice by HRDC would result in Muluzi paying back the money.

Munthali said the move by HRDC would be critical in correcting wrongs that have been done in the past years, especially with running mates of ruling parties.

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