On the night of 28 June, document leaked to the world.
On 29 June, Mgeme Kalilani tells Malawians that the document is a coordinated and sponsored character assassination campaign against President Mutharika and the DPP from a disgruntled politician. “This so-called leaked document is part of that scheme. Take a close look at it and you will notice that the document is not signed. It is a fabrication and the said politician is behind this scheme,” he says.
The same day, 29 June, the party’s Secretary-General Greselder Jeffery tells the media: “I do not know about the cheque that you are referring to. As party chief executive I am a signatory for all party cheques. The transaction you are talking about took place in April 2016 and I assumed this position in February 2016, so there is no way I could have missed it. This is just a lie by some people who do not wish the party well. We have not had such kind of money in our coffers; otherwise, we would not have been struggling with finances. Even our bank statements do not have that K145 million cheque registered.”
Today, 4 August, the DPP says: “We will pay back the money. We will give it back to Pioneer Investments.”
Fellow Malawians, DPP is taking us for kindergarten children.
1) The Secretary-General is the chief executive of the party. She says she is the signatory of all the party’s cheques. She says news about the cheque is “just a lie by some people who do not wish the party well.” She says “We have not had such kind of money … Even our bank statements do not have that K145 million cheque registered.” So the DPP has no knowledge of this money. Why, then, should the party suddenly step forward and say it will pay back the money? Since the SG says they never have such kind of money, where will the K145 million they want to pay come from? Can they fully disclose the source to Malawians?
2) As a friend wondered in my inbox earlier in the day, simple multiple choice here. If you suspect someone has given you stolen goods, do you: a) return the stolen goods to the one who sold them to you? Or b) call the police and inform them of what you know? Given our President is an esteemed legal professional, one would think this one is straight forward. The matter is under investigation by the ACB, who are acting as the police in this matter (which is even better because the police are thieves in this case). Shouldn’t it have made greater sense to return the money to the ACB?
3) Why hasn’t Peter Mutharika, sole signatory of the account, not said a single word on this matter? Not a single word. He speaks through other people’s mouths, Mgeme Kalilani today, Nicholas Dausi tomorrow, statements that do not make sense. There Mgeme was the other day, trying to discredit the document, casting doubts on its authenticity, calling it a “fabrication”. Oh, it is not signed, he said. Only for the ACB to confirm that the document was indeed from them, so that defence line collapsed under its own weight. It took them three days to cobble an explanation, claiming that the money was indeed a donation to the party for building the party’s headquarters. It is clear the explanation was cobbled in haste to suit the circumstances, but really, if that indeed was the explanation, why did it take them three whole days to come up with it? According to the intel I have, they were piling pressure on the ACB to disown the document, but the ACB could not do such a thing. So they went scampering looking for another explanation. This is why three whole days were wasted.
In conclusion, the announcement today by the ruling party does not absolve Peter Mutharika as one of the key suspects of this theft.