State House rejects Ben Phiri’s resignation
In a new twist to the revelation that President Peter Mutharika’s top aide Ben Phiri has resigned, State House has rejected the resignation letter on the grounds that it has administrative errors.
According to Director of State Residences Peter Mukhitho, Phiri is free to write a fresh letter if he indeed wants to take that path.
The letter, which Phiri himself admitted to have authored, shows that the Special Adviser and Personal Assistant to Mutharika wants to resign on 1st June 2105.
Mukhitho told The Daily Times in an interview that such a letter is unacceptable but Phiri had earlier indicated that it was just a small error.
“He has been given back the letter. Ben Phiri is on a three-year contract and if indeed he is serious about resigning, then let him write another letter without errors. We cannot accept such a letter and I don’t think such a letter can be accepted anywhere,” said Mukhitho.
Mukhitho laughed off the irony of the date in the letter, saying it is hardly possible that anyone would be alive at such a time in future.
“I’m sure I wouldn’t be alive during 2105 and I am sure you Ntchindi you won’t be around too. Maybe Mr Ben Phiri will be around but I doubt that,” he said.
When quizzed whether State House is ready to accept the resignation if it is furnished with a fresh letter of resignation, the Director of State Residences could not give a straightforward answer but hinted that Phiri’s decision would have to be respected.
When we sought his comment on whether he would proceed to write another letter, Phiri did not pick our calls despite several attempts.
But in an interview on Tuesday, Phiri attributed his action to what he said were accusations by some critics who questioned how he had accumulated his wealth in just a few years.
He added that the decision to resign had been difficult for him to make but that he wanted to pave the way to be probed.
Phiri also said he submitted the letter to the President on Monday and that he was still waiting for a response.
“I am pretty sure I have served to my best of ability in all duties and responsibilities given. Unfortunately, there is a continuing disgruntlement within the society by me holding this position, and allegations made on wealth accumulated corruptly,” reads part of the letter.
Phiri, who has been recently branded as the country’s de facto Prime Minister by some quarters, has since challenged investigation agencies to follow up on allegations made against him “so that justice should prevail”.
Strong allegations have been made against Phiri on the social media, some of which insinuated he was the one behind all the appointments which Mutharika has been making.
Phiri started working as Mutharika’s assistant in 2007 when Peter’s brother, Bingu, was President.
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