Trapence -Sanctions for thieving Malawi government officials

LILONGWE (Muchanakhwaye Khwepeya, Malawi NewsNow ) – European Union Parliament and the United States of America (US)  have been asked by Civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) to impose sanctions on Malawi Government over “deteriorating levels of governance” including to have President Peter Mutharika’s foreign bank accounts frozen.

The CSOs want the Mutharika’s foreign bank accounts including one secret one in Dubai be frozen until the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) concludes investigations into the K145 million Malawi Police Service (MPS) food rations supplier Pioneer Investments deposited into a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account at Standard Bank whose sole signatory is Mutharika.

The money was a kickback to the President for the controversial contract.

The  CSOs argue that the plunder of public resources can only be halted through punitive measures on some senior government officers, including the President.

The two-page letter signed by HRD chairperson Mr Timothy Mtambo and his deputy Mr Gift Trapence comes barely days after the CSOs called for Mutharika’s resignation over the leaked ACB dossier.

The CSOs also cite a number of suspected corruption transactions, including the disposal of the then wholly State-owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB), hiring of diesel-powered stand-by generators for Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and the recently exposed K2.3 billion police food rations deal.

“In this regard, we make the following demands: We call upon bilateral partners to institute measures to prevent travel of the President and Cabinet to Europe and the United States until the governance situation improves. We call upon the international community to carry out a fact-finding mission,” reads the letter in part.

Mr  Trapence said they have also dispatched copies of the letter to some embassies in the country to help exert pressure on government to resolve outstanding corruption cases involving the Mutharika administration.

President Mutharika and his DPP have come under intense criticism following the leaked ACB report last week which indicates the President benefited K145 million from a suspected fraudulent deal between MPS and Pioneer Investments.

But the President has said his hands are clean and that the said money was a donation to the DPP into the party’s headquarters project account for which he is the sole signatory.