BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-In a dramatic turn of events the former Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) this distanced his government from words going around that his government had cleared one Abdul Karim Batatawala from matters related to corruption and money laundering.
Speaking through his spokesperson Linda Salanjira said that the matter came on his desk but advised the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), Fiscal Police, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Immigration to desist from toying around with the idea of clear the business man and his companies African Commercial Agencies and Reliance Trading Company.
Karim is said reportedly summoned by the then Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale and the Director General of ACB then Lucas Kondowe to go through the files of the two companies and the many cases involving the owner Batawalala.
He went further that his issues were enshrined in the hand over notes of former president Dr Bakili Muluzi when handing over power to late Dr Bingu wa Mutharika.
From then on-wards his cases were never cleared nor attended to because there was a lot of mess which hinged on criminality.
Salanjira told disclosed further that the former president does not want his name to be marred with corruption cases.
She added that Mutharika is even ready to take the matter to court to clear his name.
“We are not ready to be thrown into the mud by a business person who have such cases,” said Linda Salanjira.
On his part Elvis Thodi the former immigration boss said that no such clearance was issued and would not like to get involved in corruption matters.
Batatawala Lido Karim is now under investigations after the current Attorney General Dr Chikosa Sulungwe three weeks ago directed ACB, MRA and fiscal Police to thoroughly investigate the activities bordering on corruption and money laundering. In the meantime, the Investigations are at a very advanced stage.
On his part the DPP spokesperson Brown James Mpingajira said that the party does not want to be associated with corrupt deeds and issues involving Batatawala have been there from the days of UDF.
According to a letter sent to ACB, Silungwe says the contracts were not duly approved by the Secretary to the Treasury and that officers at the department over-committed the government to huge sums of money which was not appropriated by the National Assembly.
“We note that all the said contracts bear the same contract number with a mere ‘No objection’ from PPDA [Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority] masquerading as an authority to enter into such contracts… We find these transactions to be very suspicious,” the letter reads.
However, court records in case number 16 of 2017 between Africa Commercial Agency and Reliance Trading Company and the AG, the witness statement of a Malawi Police Service Fiscal and Fraud Section officer, among others, confirmed that there was a contract and that the items were supplied to the Immigration Department’s warehouse.