Top Malawi officials’ wealth made public

President Peter Mutharika

President Peter Mutharika

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AA) – Malawian President Peter Mutharika has made his assets public in accordance with the country’s constitution.

Mutharika declared that he had about $10 million deposited in banks in Malawi and the United States.

The move came after the local radio Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) reported that Mutharika had a number of bank accounts both within and outside Malawi containing close to 4 billion Malawi kwacha (roughly $10 million) in cash.

According to ZBS, the Malawi leader has over $8 million in two U.S. bank accounts.

In Malawi, Mutharika has about $1.7 million at a local bank, along with a fleet of

nine vehicles that he reportedly bought between 2001 and 2014.

According to the reports, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, for his part, has five farms, several plots of land and house and insurance policies valued at 7 million Malawi kwacha.

He also has several bank accounts holding roughly 8 million kwacha registered jointly with his wife.

Mutharika’s predecessor, Joyce Banda, had about $14,000 deposited at a U.S. bank, about 240,000 South African rand and $4,705 deposited at the National Bank of Malawi.

Banda, who is president of the People’s Party (PP), also declared ownership of 63 vehicles, most of which she donated to the party, according to the report, which was made available only to ZBS.

The former president also declared businesses, including her school, the Joyce Banda Foundation, valued at $270,000.

In his asset declaration, opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera admitted to owning four houses, six vehicles and six bank accounts, including one in the U.S. containing some $14,000.

Chakwera, who is also president of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), also said he had ten bank accounts held jointly with family members.

Reacting to the revelations, government critic John Kapito called on the Malawian public to carefully scrutinize the declarations.

“How did these people manage to have so much wealth when people are languishing in poverty?” Kapito, executive director of the Consumers Association of Malawi, told The Anadolu Agency.

“We need to audit and continue monitoring the wealth [of politicians],” he said.

Section 88 of Malawi’s constitution requires presidents and cabinet ministers to declare their assets – and those of their spouses – within three months of their election or appointment.

However, the declarations were postponed after Malawi’s Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations gave public officials until December 31, 2014 to make them.

© 2015, Moses Michael-Phiri. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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