Tuesday, June 25, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Part of Mutharika’s millions in Zim bank, report
24/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

A REPORT released Monday in Malawi has claimed that the country’s former President Bingu wa Mutharika stashed part of a fortune estimated at US$141 million in a Zimbabwean bank.

Mutharika, a key ally of President Robert Mugabe and whose first wife Ethel was also Zimbabwean, died aged 78 from a heart attack last April.

At the time of his death, a serious economic crisis worsened by foreign currency shortages after key western donors withdrew support had sparked riots across the country.

But a report in local media claimed the former president had stashed a fortune of up to US$141 million in several local and foreign bank accounts.

The former World Bank staffer and ex-COMESA secretary general had declared assets of just US$35,000 when he took over as the country’s president in 2004.

The claims about his wealth were revealed in an affidavit report by a local firm, YMW Property Investment Limited and Registered Property Evaluator, which added that the US$141 million was a conservative estimate.

“Although I have not yet completed my exercise, as the Estate is huge and somewhat complex and in various countries, my preliminary examination has approximately valued the entire Estate as a gross value of K61,4 billion (about US$141 million),” said Yeremia Chihana who filed the affidavit.

“This sum is from property and account balances held in bank accounts within and outside the jurisdiction namely Zimbabwe, South Africa and United States of America.”

The report claimed that Mutharika’s account with Standard Chartered Bank in Zimbabwe had K320,000,000 (about US$741,000).

The former president was also said to have US$35 million stashed in an account held with Bank of Taiwan in South Africa, $4,4 million with the United Nations Federation Credit Unit and another US$4 million in New Jersey.

Other companies linked to Mutharika and his family also held various sums with local banks.

Joyce Banda, who replaced Mutharika as president, has since moved to repair relations with the West and also insisted that Zimbabwe pay the US$23 million for 66,000 tons of maize delivered to help ease local food shortages.

It was claimed Mutharika never pressed for payment because of his close ties with Mugabe.

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