9 August 2018

Malawi: Mutharika Defends Sole Signatory of DPP Bank Account - Analysts Hail K145m Payback

President Peter Mutharika has commented on his decision to be the sole signatory to a bank account of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which has been frozen following a court order, Mutharika said there was nothing unusual.

The bank account has been frozen following the K145 million deposited by Pioneer Investment Limited and Anti Corruption Bureau ( ACB) investigation report showed that PI Limited made an abortive interest claim of K466 million and deposited the controversial money into the DPP bank account at Standard Bank.

But in a pre-recorded program to be aired on State-controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Mutharika said: "Go to any organization, even private companies in Malawi, you will find that the head of the company is the sole signatory of the company bank account."

However, some business captains differed with Mutharika, saying there is corporate governance which forces companies and organisations to have at least three bank account signatories to avoid theft of money and secrecy.

Others, however, argue that there must be a clear objective or set of objectives that the sole signatory model will serve the organisation either efficiently or effectively.

The DPP has since announced its intention to refund the 'donation'.

DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said the party felt it right to have the money returned because of what he called a "public misunderstanding".

He said: "In the interest of transparency, the account was opened to save funds for purchasing the party's regional headquarters. All payments from this account were made to purchase the party headquarters and meet other party expenses. No money went to the President personally or any other official of the party."

Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, said the DPP wants the ACB to proceed with its investigations into the transaction at Malawi Police Service (MPS) headquarters.

A political scientist from University of Malawi's Chancellor College, Mustapha Hussein, observed that DPP has scored a political point over those who were trying to create a mountain over the matter.

"By returning the donation, DPP has proven its integrity and sound moral standing as we move towards the elections. The development will no doubt boost the popularity of the party and improve its image," said Hussein.

"The party has demonstrated maturity to rise above criticisms and return the money to the done. This is what leaders who champion integrity must do," he added.

Renowned media practitioner Peter Jegwa Kumwenda also hailed the DPP's payback action.

"In the history of this country, we have never had any political party that returning a donation. This development (DPP's returning of the money) is therefore commendable."

PI Limited deposited the funds in the DPP account immediately after getting a K2.7 billion payment for an MPS food rations contract.

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