SW Radio Africa (London)

26 June 2013

Zimbabwe: Chunk of Mutharika's Fortune Tucked Away in Two Zim Banks

As the fight for the late Malawian President Bingu Wa Mutharika's million-dollar fortune spills into that country's courts, it has emerged that some of the funds are stashed away in two Zimbabwean banks.

Mutharika, a close friend of Robert Mugabe, is blamed by many Malawians for presiding over a corrupt system that drove the impoverished country to its knees. He died of a heart attack in 2012, having ruled the country from 2004.

The bond with Zimbabwe was also strengthened by his first marriage to the late Ethel, who was Zimbabwean.

Several press reports in Malawi have conservatively estimated the late president's estate at $151 million, stashed away in local and foreign banks.

Malawi's The Nation newspaper reports that two banks in Zimbabwe - Standard Chartered and Barclays - are keeping tens of thousands of dollars on behalf of the president, with Stanchart said to be holding $741,000.

Other varying but substantial sums of money are reportedly held in banks in Taiwan, South Africa, and the United States.

Zimbabwe's NewsDay newspaper which picked up the story, reported that the late Mutharika's fortune seemed to grow quite rapidly during his time as Malawian leader, after going into government with just $35,000.

Reports also indicate that other properties listed in Mutharika's Will include three farms, agricultural machinery and equipment, numerous vehicles, five houses and four vacant plots.

The claims about Mutharika's wealth were revealed as part of a court battle which starts June 26th, in which the Malawian government is trying to recoup billions of Kwacha in unpaid estate duty.

The Malawian government has since frozen all but one bank account in that country, a move that is being challenged by the late Mutharika's family.

We want to hear your thoughts and opinions, so leave us your comments on [email protected]Facebook. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting us using #Zim2013 .

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