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Dpp talks Bingu’s wealth

The talk in town is about Late Bingu Wa Mutharika’s wealth which according to assessments done by YMW Property Investment Limited of Yeremiah Chihana is said to be valued at K61 billion Kwacha.

Since Friday, 21st June, 2013, The Daily Times newspaper has been taking us through the details as contained in an affidavit by Chihana filed at the high court in Zomba. The Evaluator alleges that Late Bingu Wa Mutharika had several bank accounts in both local and foreign commercial banks where some of this money was kept.

These according to court documents are enough grounds for Government to demand K5 billion from the estate of Bingu Wa Mutharika in unpaid estate duty. Yes, the law must take its course if found that indeed the Bingu estate owes Government that much.

As we are talking now the High Court has ordered that all bank accounts belonging to the late president be frozen and the whole estate be blocked up until when this case is concluded. This is because Mutharika’s daughters started making some money transfers. This is now where I find a problem. The family being chased from property that was left by their late father, from all angles. What sort of justice is that? Is this something to do with the unpaid dues all it’s now coming down to political persecution?

Without trying to dispute the court ruling, I find it very illogical that government authorities rushed to the courts to get the accounts frozen and block the whole estate including houses, vehicles and other property as if there is evidence to ascertain that the estate in question was acquired through fraudulent means.

After carefully analysing statements from the authorities and political and social commentators, what am seeing now is a group of people that have taken all the ammunition and are seen busy boxing a dead person. It looks like now what the people want is to get Mutharika back to life to explain how he managed to accumulate the wealth which cannot happen.

The evaluator has done his job but there are so many questions thus far that are yet to be answered, therefore all the conclusions we are making now are just mare speculations and as far as I can remember the issue that is in court is about the alleged unpaid estate duty. There is nothing whatsoever that has to do with the source of the money or any mention of it being stolen elsewhere. If that’s what people want to know I guess there are legal processes that can be followed to establish that because you cannot collect duty over stolen money and property.

If anything I expected Government to move in so quickly to recover the money after putting all the evidence in the face of the current administrators and all of us so that we should all believe that this indeed was stolen money. Government has the machinery and resources to track down that, otherwise claiming duty over stolen money and property is not backed by any law, not to my knowledge.

What I am seeing here is too much politicking to some extent no wonder the Democratic Progressive Party DPP within the week issued a strong worded press statement asking government to stop persecuting the party leadership in the name of Bingu.

All we are doing as a country is wielding so much energy towards the dead that cannot rise up to give us a defence. If it were the time of Jesus I could have said that was possible.

Do we want to take pride in pinning the dead for sins they committed when alive or we pin the living for their sins before they die? We pin the living after drawing lessons from the dead.

If we are not careful, this issue will draw us away from the real issues, where chances are high that public funds might have been misused and continue to be plundered without mercy. We need to safeguard that. Bingu is dead, never to come back again but we have Joyce Banda as the leader, how far have we gone to make her government become more accountable? To never repeat the sins that were committed under the previous regime?

We are busy discussing the dead when those that are living have shown some destructive motives in their actions within a space of one year. Instead of demanding answers from them we are busy clapping hands to their destructive causes while amplifying what we believe are sins committed by somebody who is not even there to defend himself.

I am not commending the plundering of public resources by those in power but as a country we need to draw lessons from the past presidents and put in place modalities that can prevent the incumbent leadership from taking after her predecessors.

We have heard of K1.7 billion which Muluzi is answering to in court, now we are allegedly on K61 billion, who knows what we might be talking about after 2014 or whenever the current president leaves office?

Instead of rushing to the courts to have Bingu’s accounts frozen and block the whole estate, let’s rush in putting all stakeholders together to look at how best we can make the declaration of assets law more effective, the current version does not in any way serve the purpose of its framers.

Let’s have people declare their assets when starting their tenure and at the end of their tenure so that the law must stand to take them to task if they use fraudulent means to acquire unexplained wealth.

If the money that Bingu acquired was from our taxes it’s just a waste of time to label him with all sorts of names because the truth is buried at Ndata with him. But in my thoughts I am asking myself that if Bingu was worthy Billions, how come his will has given out only K74 million each to his three children and brother? I expected him to give out money in Billions as well.

And we hear that he declared K150, million when getting into power. So let’s for once stop making claims that Bingu was a Minibus driver or was one minibus rich.

Bingu was not just an ordinary person. Yes as a human being he had his lows but as a former president he needs to be respected even in his death. His children need to be treated as humans and citizens of Malawi and more as children of the former president. They are not criminals because no court of law has convicted them as such and their father hasn’t been found guilty of any charge at all up until when the court says so.

Bingu’s children need to survive, they need to earn a living and their father made sure that he left them with enough capital to persist by making them administrators to his estate. Let’s put our focus on the current leadership and fight to triumph afterwards that we had a president who was different from her predecessors, after Malawians made her government become more accountable and demanded transparency by putting in place the necessary instruments to put her in check.

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