Saturday, May 16, 2009

(NYASATIMES) Bingu shamed in UK’s The Sun for blowing £3m on new Mercs

Bingu shamed in UK’s The Sun for blowing £3m on new Mercs
Thom Chiumia 15 May, 2009 10:28:00

Extravagant! Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has been exposed in an exclusive report in Friday edition of Britain’s highly circulating tabloid, The Sun that his administration has blown £3million on a fleet of Mercedes Benz cars from Britain.

“Malawi’s rulers ordered 22 motors to help them campaign for Tuesday’s general election — as millions of citizens live in poverty,” The Sun reported in its edition.

The newspaper said it has papers which show that Malawi’s finance ministry paid a British dealer to dispatch the £140,000 cars to the country.

According to The Sun, London-based Crown Agents Bank Ltd is said to have brokered the deal.

The vehicles, sources at Kamuzu International Airport in the capital Lilongwe told Nyasa Times that they arrived on Tuesday.

State House sources said some Mercedes Benz cars will be used by international foreign Heads of State during the inauguration of a new Malawi President after May 19 polls.

The Sun of UK quoted a Malawian political source who said: “If you guys in Britain think you’ve got it bad with your MPs’ noses in the trough, check out our lot.

“Thousands are starving but our government just wants to drive around in style.”

Mutharika who face stiff challenge from opposition MCP-UDF coalition joint presidential candidate John Tembo has been subject of criticism of expenditure after he recently drew ire of the opposition when his government purchase a fleet of top-of-the-range Hummers for his motorcade.

He also purchased buses for campaign and use one of them in which he becomes the only passenger waving at people in what his foes say he acts like “wipers”.

Tembo who is tipped to win the Tuesday polls promised that his government will investigate Mutharika has accumulated his wealth and how his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government purchased the expensive vehicles.

Tembo said Mutharika has to account for his wealth and flotilla of Hummer vehicles and buses. He has also claimed Mutharika’s has been on wrongful-self enrichment crusade in which he is constructing houses in Portugal, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

"Malawi cannot afford to buy such expensive and luxurious Hummers, coaches and buses and roll them on a presidential convoy without passengers," Tembo said.

"If he cannot explain now, he will have to explain when we get in government," said Tembo.

Mutharika who dumped the UDF which sponsored his 2004 election to found his own Democratic Progressive party (DPP) is also embroiled in another allegation that he is responsible in the missing of US$10 million World Bank money at Finance Ministry meant for m input subsidy programme

The President has been holding the agriculture ministry and has been responsible for fertiliser subsidy programme.

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