By Imam Wali
The matter involving former president Peter Mutharika where his Taxpayer Identification Number (Tpin) was allegedly used in importing 1.2 million bags of cement worth K5 billion is just a tip of the iceberg, The Sunday Times has learnt.
More billions of kwacha were reportedly ‘stolen’ through importation of various goods using Mutharika’s Tpin.
A source at Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB), who opted to be not identified, confided in us that the graft-busting body and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) intend to interrogate the former president on how the billions were swindled using his identity.
“It is not just about cement importation; there are individuals mentioned in records as having benefitted from abusing the former president’s privileges,” the source said.
Meanwhile, analysts have asked Mutharika to clear his name which might be soiled by acts of other people close to him who abused his Tpin.
According to our source, there are more people implicated in the Tpin saga who are being trailed by ACB in line with the information that the graft-busting body acquired from institutions such as MRA.
When we sought confirmation of the reports from ACB Senior Public Relations Officer Egritta Ndala, she simply said the bureau is still working on investigations regarding the matter.
“Once my office has all the information concerning the matter, we are going to share with the public. People can speculate but let us all exercise patience,” Ndala said.
Political and social commentator George Phiri of University of Livingstonia is of the view that more details about how Mutharika’s Tpin was used will come out if the former president grants ACB an interview.
Mutharika has been dodging the graft-busting body with his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) eventually accusing the bureau of persecuting him.
“When you are clean, you cannot refuse to be investigated. If the former president, who no longer enjoys immunity from prosecution, knows he did nothing wrong, he should allow ACB to do its work,” Phiri said.
Another political commentator Sheriff Kaisi said in a separate interview that in a normal scenario, Mutharika would take the interview with ACB as an opportunity to clear speculation and allegations levelled against him.
“When there is anything can be thrown in to fill the gap. Speculation will really be there if people don’t know what exactly happened. It is up to Mutharika to ensure he does not create room for speculation,” Kaisi said. no information,
The alleged abuse of Mutharika’s Tpin led to the arrest of individuals such as his former personal bodyguard Norman Chisale, former MRA deputy commissioner Roza Mbilizi and Lilongwe – based business person Shaffe Chunara.
Since the change of government last year, Mutharika has been avoiding an ACB interview, describing it as political persecution.
On two occasions, the graft-busting body cancelled interviews with him, one which was supposed to be conducted virtually, after he reportedly fell ill, and an in-person one which was to follow.
After the second cancellation, ACB Director General Martha Chizuma said the bureau was now pursuing other legal means of getting the former president’s side of the story.
Earlier this month, through its spokesperson Shadreck Namalomba, DPP issued a statement in which it warned ACB to stop what the party described as persecuting Mutharika.
During his time as president, Mutharika was entitled to importing goods duty-free for personal use.