By Chancy Namadzunda:
Former President Peter Mutharika has refused to be grilled by the graft busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) over the abuse of his Tax Payer Identification Number (TPIN).
According to statement dated July 27, 2021, Mutharika said the planned interview is a ‘sustained political witch hunt’ by the state institution.
“In August 2020, the Fiscal Police questioned me under caution regarding the use of my personal TPIN during the time I was president of Malawi. The matter related to the unauthorized use of my TPIN in the importation of cement by other people. I issued a statement that clarified my position in that matter denying any involvement in the importation of that cement.
“Surprisingly, ACB who never questioned me in any way froze mu accounts citing the alleged use or misuse of my TPIN in that transaction. You continued to keep the accounts frozen for over 270 days until you could no longer renew the restriction notice. During that long period, I was not allowed to access the accounts even for my reasonable living expenses or to pay my bills,” reads part of the statement.
Mutharika further said his calling to answer questions by the ACB is considered to be part of the continued persecution and harassment by the ACB and it is intended to humiliate and taunt him psychologically.
“It is extremely strange that an institution like ACB with accusatorial and investigative powers would seek to interview me without disclosing the nature of the offence I am accused of. In view of the previous conduct of the ACB towards me, I am reluctant to grant this interview,” he said adding that he will only listen to the questions if ACB proceed “but I will exercise my right to remain silent unless I am told if I have committed any offence,” said