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Joyce Banda to tithe her pension

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Former President Joyce Banda has said she intends to tithe her pension arrears from 2016 to the Synod of Livingstonia when government pays her.

Banda, who announced in a church service at St Andrews in Mzuzu that her 2017 pension was paid already, thanked the church for their prayers and encouragement when she was away.

She told the congregation that, once she receives her 2016 arrears, she will surrender K1 million to the synod account and K300, 000 to Women’s Guild account.

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“I can tell you that government started paying me my monthly retirement benefits last year. I cannot hide you because it is in the books. We get K1.1 million, therefore I tithed part of the 2017 payment to my church at home in Zomba. Now I promise that my 2016 tithe will be surrendered to Livingstonia Synod,” Banda said

Banda returned home last week to a rousing welcome by her supporters and vowed to prove her innocence.

After spending more than three years in self-imposed exile because of graft allegations, Malawi’s first female president returned as police said her warrant of arrest issued last July was still valid.

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Last year, police issued an arrest warrant against Banda, saying her alleged offences were part of Cashgate. But early this year, the Anti-Corruption Bureau said it had no solid evidence against her, Banda is accused of cashgate, a corruption scandal in which senior government officials siphoned millions of dollars from state coffers, which was uncovered in 2013, while she was president.

She lost elections to Peter Mutharika a year later and immediately faced allegations of abuse of office and money laundering, which she denied and left the country.

A former justice minister and attorney general were convicted over Cashgate, along with a number of former high-ranking government officials and business people.

Banda has been living in the United States, serving as a distinguished fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Center for Global Development in Washington DC.

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