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Malawi ex-President Mutharika loses bid to unfreeze his accounts

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AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP or licensors

Malawi

Malawi's former President Peter Mutharika's quest to remove restrictions on his bank accounts which were frozen as part of a corruption investigation has ended in failure.

On Friday, Malawi's high court dismissed his application to have his accounts unfrozen by the country’s anti-graft agency.

Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) last August froze the personal bank accounts of Mutharika and his wife, Gertrude, in a probe seeking to uncover his role in a 5-billion kwacha ($6.6 million) cement scandal.

In his petition, the former President also wanted to court to order Standard bank to give him unrestricted access to his funds.

The bureau argues that Mutharika’s tax number was used to import cement duty-free between 2018 and 2019.

In July, his former bodyguard and the ex-head of Malawi’s tax body were in connection with the investigation.

The Bureau has since said it has no solid evidence against the former President, partially clearing his name.

Corruption allegations have dogged Malawi’s former presidents.

In 2014, Mutahrika’s predecessor Joyce Banda fled the country after being implicated in the so-called Cashgate scandal, in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money.

Last June, Mutharika lost his re-election bid to Lazarus Chakwera, an anti-corruption crusader.

The election was a repeat vote after the country’s top court quashed the results of the May 2019 exercise which gave Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) victory.

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