Minister of Information, Mark Botomani, has refuted allegations that Malawi University of Science and Technology is a property of the President Peter Mutharika’s family.
Featuring on Tchutchutchu programme on Times TV, parlaimentarian Yeremiah Chihana, a professional valuer who was hired by the government to assess Bingu wa Mutharika’s estate, revealed that the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) belongs to Bineth Trust, whose current administrators are President Peter Mutharika and Duwa, the late Bingu’s daughter.
Responding, the government has described Chihana’s remarks as a cheap propaganda.
In a statement released today Friday by the information minister Botomani, government says late President Bingu wa Mutharika donated part of his Ndata farm to the government as the proposed site for the construction of the University.
“The University has been processing title deed for the land. All processes were completed and the Ministry of Lands shall be issuing the title deeds in due course.
“The University is run by a Council and no member of the Mutharika family is affiliated to the council in any way,” reads the statement.
Botomani has further described Chihana’s remarks as disturbing, saying such lies do not befit a person who is representing people in the National Assembly.
“As these facts show, Government is deeply worried that an Honourable Member of Parliament who is supposed to speak the truth at all times decided to do the dishonourable thing of telling people lies, probably to feed his political interests.
“The Malawi University of Science and Technology is a public institution and details of its ownership are public record. It is, therefore, disturbing that a Member of Parliament should resort to peddling cheap propaganda, instead of producing factual information by checking the readily available records from the right offices,” the statement further reads.
Allan Ntata, who was Bingu’s Legal Advisor, also took to social media trashing Chahana’s assertions.
“The legitimate owner of MUST is Malawi Government. I personally conducted the legal annexing and conveyancing where late Bingu annexed part of Ndata Farm and donated it to the government of Malawi as the proposed site for the construction of MUST. MUST has a Ministry of Education Charter just like all other Government Universities and the land upon which it stands was donated to the government.
“I am disappointed that Chihana, whom I respect, can be spreading such lies. Late Bingu wasn’t perfect and did many things wrong alright, but that doesn’t justify piling lies on his shoulders using just rumours and innuendo. These kinds of claims and allegations should always be supported by facts and evidence,” Ntata wrote on his facebook page.
The University was established by an Act of Parliament Number 31 of 2012 with the aim of promoting the development, adaptation, transfer and application of science, technology and innovation for macro- and micro-economic development of Malawi.
Officially launching construction of world-class University, Mutharika said he was pleased to donate the more than 263 hectares of land for its establishment. China’s Export and Import bank had provided a US$80 million loan facility, with a repayment period of 20 years and a grace period of five years, to the Malawi government (not Bingu) for its construction.
“MUST is located in Ndata Estate that belongs to me. I have donated to the Malawi nation over 650 acres of land to be the campus for this university. We shall all benefit from this. It does not belong to me,” he said.
In an interview with Maravi Post on Thursday morning, a senior officer in the land department said “It is indeed true that Bingu donated the land but the title deeds are still under Bineth Trust name. However, the transfer of ownership started soon after construction of the University commenced. By now this could have been a forgotten matter but the process met some challenges as some people were claiming ownership of the land.
“The Mutharika family has never at any point showed resistance to have the land ownership transferred from privately-owned to public. It is, therefore, misrepresentation of facts to say the institution belongs to the Mutharika family. I think Mr. Chihana was somehow political,” he said.