It is with grave concern that the Office of the President and Cabinet has learnt of accusations by Mr. Peter Chinoko, apparently on behalf of Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, leveled against Her Excellency the President, Dr. Joyce Banda, during the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament held at the Parliament Building on 12th December, 2013, in relation to ongoing investigations of looting of public resources.
The accusations against Her Excellency the President made by Mr. Peter Chinoko to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, published in newspapers, including the Daily Times of Friday, December, 13, 2013, and carried on radio broadcasts, are to the
effect that Her Excellency the President is connected to the looting of public resources, and further that the looted public resources were used, among other things, to fund activities of the People’s Party.
The Office of the President and Cabinet notes that in response to a request by the Public Accounts Committee that Mr. Peter Chinoko should confirm his information to the Committee in writing, Mr. Chinoko undertook to do so by close of business on 13th December, 2013. However, Mr. Chinoko has failed to confirm his information to the Committee.
The Office of the President and Cabinet also notes that Mr. Peter Chinoko informed the Public Accounts Committee that the information which he passed on to the Committee is based on information in possession of the Catholic Church which has come
from reliable sources.
However, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, in a statement issued on 13th December, 2013, has publicly disassociated itself from the accusations leveled against Her Excellency the President by Mr. Peter Chinoko. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace has stated that Mr. Peter Chinoko is not the spokesperson of the Archdiocese nor the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, and the statement he made to the Public Accounts Committee does not represent the position of the Archdiocese nor the Episcopal Conference of Malawi.
The Office of the President and Cabinet, wishes to state that Her Excellency the President categorically refutes the scandalous and baseless allegations that Her Excellency the President is in any way involved in, or connected with, the looting of public resources as alleged by the Mr. Peter Chinoko, or at all; and Her Excellency the President reserves the right to take appropriate legal action to address her concerns in relation to the allegations made by Mr.
The Office of the President and Cabinet wishes to state that immediately Her Excellency the President became aware of the looting of public resources, Her Excellency the President initiated appropriate steps to ensure that the looting of the public resources is investigated; that the culprits are apprehended and prosecuted; that the looted public resources are recovered; and further that an end is put to the looting of public resources.
Her Excellency the President has resolved to continue the fight against theft of public resources and corruption, and is determined to do so until theft of public resources and corruption is eradicated. The Office of the President and Cabinet wishes to reiterate that the looting of public resources is being investigated by the institutions legally mandated to do so, namely, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Directorate of the Public Prosecutions.
In order to facilitate the investigations and prosecute the culprits, the Government has sought and obtained assistance from Malawi’s Development Partners, including the United Kingdom, the Norway, the European Union, and the United States. To date commendable progress has been made, and continues to be made, in relation to the investigations. Over 35 suspects have been committed for trial at the High Court and 32 bail applications have been processed. In addition, 81 companies are being investigated. Trial
for a number of suspects is scheduled to commence in early January, 2014.
The Office of the President and Cabinet wishes to urge members of the public to desist from making scandalous and baseless allegations against anyone, but to allow the institutions which are mandated to do so to properly investigate the looting of public resources. The Office of the President and Cabinet also wishes to advise members of the public that the publication of baseless allegations or accusations could lead to the commencement of legal proceedings against them, and they may be liable to pay appropriate compensation or damages.
Dated this 13th day of December, 2013
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET