By John Saukira – Malawi Exclusive
The carpet onto which Leader of Opposition (LoP), Kondwani Nankhumwa, and Government are standing is hiding Nankhumwa’s crimes under it. Those are crimes suspected to have been committed by Nankhumwa and some Malawians have risen with questions over Government’s reluctance to take Leader of Opposition to task.
Speaking during Capital FM News Talk radio telephone call-in program on Monday and Tuesday this week, callers cited a number of issues that they think Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) can pursue and bring the embattled opposition leader to book.
A caller, named Joel Thomas Kakhome, from Luchenza Township urged authorities to investigate Nankhumwa on how he acquired land where he has built his multi-million kwacha mansion in Luchenza. He further recommended for a trail audit of the source of the money used in that project.
“He has built a big house and one wonders where he got the money to put up that huge structure. I tell you, it is a big house and has a hall that can accommodate up to 1,000 people”, the caller said.
We are yet to independently confirm on the allegation made by the caller that Nankhumwa’s property in Luchenza can accommodate up to one thousand people at a go.
“Besides that, there is need to dig deep to investigate how he acquired the land because from my understanding, the land where he has built his house was meant for an airport. How did the Municipality Council allow him to acquire that restricted piece of land,” questioned another caller who identified himself as Motheriwa.
Another caller from Lilongwe who identified himself as Dokotela Phiri reiterated what has been in the public domain on how the Leader of Opposition acquired one of the institutional houses belonging to Tobacco Commission in Area 10 in Lilongwe.
The caller questioned whether due procedure was followed to acquire the house which is situated in Area 10 in Lilongwe.
Phiri referred to the Office of Ombudsman Report that was prepared by former Ombudsman Martha Chizuma which found that the acquisition of the house had numerous irregularities.
Said Phiri pointing out the Government’s kids gloves on Nankhumwa: “If the Office of the Ombudsman found something irregular in the process of buying the house, why is government and other law enforcement agencies just leaving the issue to die a natural death?”
“We read in the report that he bought the house at K125 million and had to carry the cash in a bag. One wonders where he got all that money and pay a government institution in cash. Where is the Financial Intelligence Authority to investigate whether the money is not proceeds of crime or whether this issue border on money laundering.”
Phiri strongly suspects government is treating the Leader of Opposition with kid gloves. He thinks it is time government acted to ensure that Nankhumwa accounts for his alleged crimes.
A caller from Mzimba said police have not come to the bottom of the beating up, in broad daylight, of the former spokesperson of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Brown Mpinganjira which was done in full view of cameras.
It is alleged that is it Nankhuma who sent the thugs to beat up Mpinganjira because of their internal differences bordering on power struggle wrangle in the former governing party.
Nankhumwa is one of the desperate contenders for the party’s leadership ahead of the 2025 Presidential Election.
“It is alleged that he (Nankhumwa) was behind all this and used what the call Super 16, which is a grouping of thugs based in Blantyre’s populous Township of Ndirande, to beat up a party colleague.
“We are told that he sent his personal assistant with K16 million cash to pay the thugs for beating up Mpinganjira and disrupting a press conference some DPP members were expected to hold in Lilongwe.
“These are the issues that have to be investigated. You mean the whole Malawi Police Service with its detectives can fail to apprehend the criminals who were caught on camera?” Questioned the caller.
Majority of the callers said it is high time government machinery ensured that some of these things are investigated.
Meanwhile, Nankhumwa is on the verge of losing the house in Lilongwe, which he acquired from Tobacco Commission at K125 million in 2018 because according to contemporary allegations, he acquired it illegally.
The Tobacco Commission, under new leadership of Chidanti Malunga, is pushing to reposes the house on grounds that it was purchased without following due process and that Nankhumwa was not even the highest bidder, but used power and influence to bulldoze an illegal acquisition.
In interviews, Nankhumwa insists that he followed all processes to buy the house, adding that the matter is being handled by his attorneys.
A letter from the TC to Nankhumwa, dated June 17 2021, titled Settlement Proposal on Disposal of Plot Numbers 10/470 (Title Number Alimaunde 10/292) states that the evaluation of the bids and the award of the contract to Nankhumwa was not done by the structures mandated to do so under the Public Procurement and Disposal Authority.
TC chief executive officer Joseph Chidanti-Malunga, who signed the letter said Nankhumwa was offered the house despite his bid being K25 million less than that of the highest bidder
Says the letter: “It is our intention to resolve this matter amicably, without subjecting it to further legal process which may include criminal proceedings against the persons involved since the actions complained of constitute offences under the PPDA Act.
“We, therefore, on a without prejudice basis, propose that we resolve the matter by cancelling the entire sale, the institution will refund you the money paid as consideration for the sale.”
Nankhumwa’s attorney responded in a letter dated June 21 2021 that his client responded to a public bid advertised on March 17 2018, and that all processes were followed.
The Office of the Ombudsman report in May this year faulted the sale of two institutional houses, including the one bought by Nankhumwa and another one in Chigumula in Blantyre which was bought by Jayshree Patel.
The report said the properties were sold against a ban on sale of institutional houses.
A government circular dated September 30 2003, Ref No.MH/HOS/03/05/85, addressed to all controlling officers, a meeting of some controlling officers on September 12 2003 unanimously resolved that all categories of institutional houses were not for sale.
TC board chairperson Harry Mkandawire earlier told Weekend Nation that the commission is ready to refund Nankhumwa and Patel their money, and repossess the houses.
Mkandawire also indicated that the TC board referred the matter to police for investigation, adding that the Ombudsman’s report directed the board to take remedial action to address the findings of the audit into the disposal of the property.
He said Patel agreed to be refunded her money but, also, requested additional funds for some of the renovations done to the house.