Mr Gerald Viola

Mr Gerald Viola

LILONGWE (Malawi NewsNow ) —President Prof Peter Mutharika’s press secretary, Mr Gerald Viola has come under fire for abusing power after a leaked memo revealed ordered government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and private entities to give business to the  Mutharika-owned radio station, Galaxy FM.

Reads the memo dated 13 July 2013: “This communication serves to plead with your department to make good relations in business where necessary with Galaxy FM. The radio station would like to get adverts from you whenever you feel advertising some of your products. In case of confirmation, never hesitate to contact the undersigned.”

Viola said he wrote the memo “as an introduction to the departments not as an order. “

He said departments were not under any pressure to transact business with Galaxy FM.

But Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Mr Timothy Mtambo accused Viola of abuse of power and conflict of interest having previously worked at Galaxy FM again and now acting as “Galaxy FM marketing officer” using presidential powers.

He observed that Viola’s action are coming after ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Mr Ecklen Kudomtoni ordered chief executives of various State-owned companies to support the DPP.

“How do you expect such officers to advise the president effectively to take this country forward,” said Mtambo.

“I do not think he has any mandate to be the sells or marketing officer for any company let alone the company that belongs to the president’s family, and a company which was putting bread and butter on his table before he joined the government,” CHRR boss added.

Abuse of power at State House is not a new phenomenon, the First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s charity, Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust, last year was caught in a scandal where it had written the National Aids Commission (NAC) seeking a grant.