Former president Peter Mutharika’s security aide Norman Chisale has said his boss is the one who bought most of the vehicles listed under the High Court Preservation Order.
In a telephone interview on Saturday, Chisale said most of the vehicles were distributed to traditional and other leaders in the country.
He further challenged agencies in the country to thoroughly verify the ownership of the 78 vehicles listed, claiming that he only owns four of the listed vehicles.
The High Court sitting in Blantyre granted the government an order for seizure of property belonging to Chisale and other respondents.
Chisale said if an extensive inquiry were done—especially on ownership of the vehicles—it would be discovered that only four of the listed vehicles are his.
He further indicated that the vehicles in question were distributed, through him, to traditional and other leaders across the country under the Peter Mutharika administration.
“They [owners of the vehicles] are phoning me after seeing their vehicles listed under the order. I have told them to go and drop the vehicles to any government office. Some of those vehicles are with traditional leaders,” Chisale said.
On the bank accounts, Chisale said he has worked for the money that is in his bank accounts.
“I don’t understand why the government should freeze my accounts. The money I have worked for, I will report government to the international human rights bodies of the torture I am receiving,” Chisale said.
Section 32 of the Corrupt Practices Act deals with possession of unexplained property and wealth, and also deals with those who maintain a standard of living above official earnings or other known sources of income.
This means Chisale will have to convince the court that not all the vehicles belong to him.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Defenders Coalition Chairperson Gift Trapence has urged the Tonse Alliance-led administration to use Section 32 of the Corrupt Practices Act as a benchmark for holding public officials and those who serve public officials accountable.
“This [Section 32 of the Corrupt Practices Act] is one of the provisions that the Tonse Alliance-led government should be using frequently. The provision can be used to pin each and every public official who has amassed questionable wealth,” Trapence said.
In 2018, the State House dished out cars to traditional leaders perceived to have been sympathisers of the then Democratic Progressive Party-led administration.
Efforts to speak to Mutharika proved futile as he could not be reached when we tried to contact him several times.