Civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) have called for President Peter Mutharika’s resignation within 14 days following his alleged involvement in the Malawi Police Service (MPS) fraud.
Media reports and a leaked Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) document at the weekend indicated that Mutharika was involved in a K2.3 billion MPS and Pioneer Investments supply deal, where he pocketed K145 million received from the supplier into a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account for which he is the sole signatory.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lilongwe yesterday which was led by the Reverend Macdonald Sembereka, Timothy Mtambo, Gift Trapence and Billy Mayaya, the HRD also called for an amendment to Section 91(2) of the Constitution which provides a sitting President immunity from prosecution.
Reading the statement, titled ‘Call to the President of Malawi, Arthur Peter Mutharika to resign’, Mayaya said the HRD were shocked by the involvement of the President, MPS and Pioneer Investment, which is owned by Zameer Karim, in the corrupt deal.
He said: “Given that there is evidence to show that the President benefited from this scheme and if he is serious about fighting corruption, we demand that he honorably steps down with immediate effect to pave the way for prosecution. We are giving him 14 days to do so.”
The grouping has also called for the Speaker of the National Assembly, Richard Msowoya, to call for a Parliament meeting within the 14 days to start a process of impeachment and amend Section 91(2) of the Constitution.
They also urged the ACB to investigate the matter, while also demanding the resignation of senior police officers involved.
Asked if their call for the resignation will be effective considering that government has ignored their previous demands, including the April 27 petition, Mtambo said they will not stop until their concerns are heard.
Said Mtambo: “They can’t ignore us forever. This country is bigger than their stubbornness.”
But in an interview yesterday, presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalirani said there is no justification for Mutharika to resign.
He said: “The record is clearly that the President never benefited from the alleged funds and he did nothing wrong.”
Kalirani further refuted the claim that Mutharika benefitted from proceeds of the MPS-Pioneer Investment contract.
Meanwhile, in a written response to The Nation on the scam, United States Ambassador Virginia Palmer has said there is need for the ACB to conduct a thorough investigation without any interference. n