Malawi Government yesterday said it has not blocked any bank accounts belonging to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Peter Mutharika as his aide, Ben Phiri, claimed on Monday.
Information and Civic Education Minister Moses Kunkuyu said in an interview that government was taken aback by the claims.
Kunkuyu, who is also the official government spokesperson, yesterday said he was not aware of any personal bank accounts belonging to Peter that government has blocked, unless he is referring to former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s accounts under contention in court.
The minister said he had cross-checked Peter’s claims with the Ministry of Justice, and urged Peter to explain himself.
Phiri told The Nation this week that the withdrawal of sponsorship to regional football leagues was a result of government’s move to block his bosses’ access to his finances.
Phiri also attributed the pullout of sponsorship to political interference, arguing football authorities were last year taken to task by government for allowing Peter to preside over the women’s prize presentation ceremony at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
Piling pressure on Peter yesterday was University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political scientist Joseph Chunga who said Peter may wish to come out to disclose if sources of the sponsorship for the regional leagues came from the frozen Bingu’s estate.
He said in the absence of such an explanation, people would have difficulties to get to the gist of the issue.
Peter, through Phiri, this week announced the withdrawal of the K5 million (US$15,576) per season sponsorship for the Southern Region Football League (SRFL) and all the three regional women’s football leagues amounting to K18 million (US$56,074) (K6 million each league) [US$18,691].
But asked yesterday if he was referring to government’s freezing of bank accounts belonging to Peter’s late brother, Bingu, Phiri said he needed to cross-check with his boss. He said it would not be possible to check with his boss yesterday. By press time, Phiri had not reverted to us.
Peter is on record as having said that he never had any joint bank accounts with his late brother, and he, in fact, sued a government-hired evaluator of Bingu’s deceased estate, Yeremia Chihana when he suggested that he had joint bank accounts with the former president.
There is no public information that apart from the frozen bank accounts belonging to the former president, government has also blocked Peter’s finances.
Bingu, who died on April 5 2012, left an estate estimated at K61 billion. But proposals are being made by interim administrators of the estate to hire another evaluator after disagreeing with Chihana’s evaluation.