Ex-Malawi’s president assets sought in court

Malawi’s anti-corruption bureau applied to the high court today to seize former president Bakili Muluzi’s property and asked for an $11 million (R85 million) bond if he were allowed to leave for a medical check-up in London.
Muluzi has been under investigation for the last two years on suspicion of siphoning money from Taiwan, Morocco, Libya and other donors.
He was arrested in February and charged with 87 counts of diverting money into his private account. He denies any wrongdoing.
The former president was due to travel to the UK for a medical check-up last week, but the Bureau, which has been investigating the case for two years, seized his passport and air tickets, effectively stopping him from any travel.
The order was on suspicion that he planned not to come back to Malawi. Muluzi denies any wrongdoing.
Alex Nampota, director of the anti-graft body, told the court that Muluzi’s vehicles, his residence and other businesses should be seized in accordance with the law.
Nampota told the court the corrupt practices act allowed this.
Muluzi, who ruled the southern African nation for 10 years, stepped down in 2004 after unsuccessfully trying to change the constitution to allow him to stand again.
His lawyers asked the court not to allow the seizure of property because their client was very sick.
“What we want is for our client to continue using his cars and enjoy his residence because he is still presumed innocent until the verdict is made on July 10,” Jay Banda, Muluzi’s lawyer, told Reuters outside the court.
“The bureau’s demands that our client pays a bond of $11 million, an amount equivalent to what he is being accused of stealing, is not only against the law but absurd,” Banda said.