British High Commissioner Michael Nevin has said revelations that former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika accumulated about K61 billion (about $152m) wealth are shocking and called for answers to how it was created.
Speaking in an interview on Friday on the sidelines of an Extraordinary Annual Youth Consultative Forum (YCF)in Lilongwe, Nevin also said the revelations are a wake-up call for the country to close any gaps in the fight against corruption.
He said: “There are reports on things tabled in the court, but on the face of it, it seems quite shocking. The amounts being quoted are huge and that actually leads to many questions. How did that happen? Where did that money come from?
“Why wouldn’t measures put in place prevent such accumulation of wealth if indeed it was corrupt or ill-government? I think this is a wake-up call for Malawi.”
Nevin said the country needs to strengthen its institutions involved in fighting corruption and tighten relevant laws to stop corruption and illegal accumulation of wealth.
“We really need to strengthen a lot of institutions, strengthen the laws and strengthen the ability to prevent such things from happening,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Mutharika family is fighting in court with government which has since frozen all but one bank account of the former president in the case where it is demanding K5 billion in unpaid estate duty from Mutharika’s deceased estate, estimated to be worth about K61 billion.
Nevin also said Malawi needs to change its perception of looking at Britain as its mother and move away from dependency.
“The connotation of mother is one of dependency. So, we need to move away from that psychological thinking of one of dependency to one of doing things as an equal partner of the UK and also doing things for yourself.
“Obviously, there will always be that special relationship between Malawi and the UK and we will continue to support Malawi but I think, let’s start changing the mindset in supporting Malawi to get up and go on its own,” said Nevin.
He said Malawi has shown “tremendous” potential for growth in areas such as energy which he said are crucial to helping the country move from aid to trade.
And during the function, YCF organising chairperson Kondwani Kaunda said the country needs to involve its youths if it is to win the battle against corruption.
“We are concerned about wastage of resources, corruption and poor monitoring of implementation of the national budget. Youth should be involved in monitoring budget implementation because there are many projects which are budgeted for but they are not implemented. Where do resources for those projects go?” said Kaunda.