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Malawi’s Information Minister Denies Taking Kickbacks

In Malawi, opposition parties are calling for the resignation of embattled minister for information, Patricia Kaliati to resign. The call came after President Bingu Wa Mutharika announced his government was probing Kaliati following reports she took kickbacks in the sale of Nyika-Vwaza Eco-tourism Reserve Concession. The opposition contends that Kaliati’s continued stay in office could potentially influence the investigation. But Kaliati has dismissed the call for her resignation arguing that the power lies in the hands of President Mutharika to decide whether she stays as minister or not. From Mzuzu in the northern part of Malawi, she tells reporter Peter Clottey her hands are clean.

“Why should I resign? After all, those allegations started coming when I was the minister for information and tourism. I’m out of tourism and they are free to do whatever they feel like. Remember also that I didn’t ask for this job. I was appointed. And they are not entitled to ask me to resign. I leave it in the hands of the authority (Mutharika) to look into that, but they have got no mandate. If they are just fearing the unknown, then shame to them. If they feel like I’m their threat, then fair and good,” Kaliati pointed out.

She reiterated that she is not a corrupt public official and that she has no power to influence the outcome of the investigation.

“How should I influence? My dear I’m 100 percent clear, respectful and trustworthy, accountable, I cannot interfere, I cannot even influence. After all I’m not in the ministry of tourism that is making them not to investigate and what to tell them not to investigate. After all I’m not even sneaking, I’m having a thick skin my dear because I have done nothing wrong,” she said.

Kaliati said those peddling the rumors that she took kickbacks are scared of her straightforwardness.

“So they are just afraid of me, I’m their threat. What is it that I can tell them? They know that I’m a straightforward person, whatever comes, I tell them the truth, and they know that I do defend and I do speak for the government. And when I’m speaking for the government, I don’t skate around the subject, I only hit the nail on the head and they are not happy with that. And as a good citizen of this country, as a Malawian, I cannot allow people to castigate and abuse the president because he is the highest authority in this country,” Kaliati noted.

She denied ever taking any kickbacks or bribes of any shape or form.

“I didn’t even sign any contract my dear in the ministry of tourism, apart from the one with Bayer Food in Msanjo whereby they brought papers that this is what they’ve agreed. When they were discussing on that paper, I wasn’t there. What comes on my desk is a paper where I am supposed to sign period. Nothing else about the Nyika, which they are talking about, I haven’t signed any concession on that,” she said.