ACB interview is political witch-hunt – Mutharika

Former President Peter Mutharika has refused to be questioned by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), saying the requested interview is part of continued persecution and is intended to taunt him psychologically.

Mutharika has made the remarks in a statement today, the day when ACB was expected to interview him after failing to do so last week.

The ACB wanted to question Mutharika on allegations that his Taxpayer Identification Number (TPIN) was used to import duty free cement worth over K1.5 billion.

But Mutharika has snubbed the bureau and has described the interview as political witch-hunt.

According to Mutharika, the bureau has told him the interview is in relation to offences but it has refused to reveal the offences which he committed.

“It is strange to me that an institution like the ACB with accusatorial and investigative powers would seek to interview me without disclosing the nature of offences I am accused of.

“In my view, all this is sustained political witch-hunt by a state institution. If I, as a former head of state, must be called to answer these questions, then fairness demands that every previous president and vice president now living be called upon to explain how their TPIN has been used,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika then stated that if the ACB insists on asking him questions, he will listen but will exercise his right to remain silent. He added that after listening to the questions, he will seek legal advice and it is only then that he will considering responding to the ACB’s questions.

Last year, Mutharika was also interviewed by Fiscal Police over the issue and he also released a statement denying any involvement in the importation of cement.

At the start of its investigations over the issue, the ACB froze the accounts of Mutharika and several other people.

Mutharika, in the statement today, said it was surprising that the ACB which did not interview him froze his accounts for over 270 days and refused his request to withdraw small amounts to pay bills.

“I was neither charged nor informed by the ACB on why [the] institution subjected me to this kind of treatment,” said Mutharika.