Business tycoon Simbi Phiri denies bribing judges, challenges DPP to go to ACB

Malawian business billionaire Simbi Phiri

Executive Chairman of Khatho Holdings Simbi Phiri has dismissed assertions linking him to bribing the Constitutional Court Judges alleged by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters as lacking substance.

In an interview monitored on ZBS, he challenged those with the information of his involvement not to waste time with the allegations, but rather report him to the Anti-Corruption Bureau for action.

Phiri described the placards implicating him to have bribed the judges during the recent DPP march for justice as sad and foolish.

“How do you say you have information that says Simbi has bribed the judges you have the information. Why do say ACB must investigate? Go to ACB with that hard core information and say here is the information this guy bribed the judges.

“Somebody must have very little functioning brain because why take my name that is involved with corrupting judges onto the streets instead of taking into straight to the Anti-Corruption Bureau or police station," reasoned the billionaire business tycoon

He suspects that all this stem from his close links to Malawi Congress Party’s President Lazarus Chakwera whose village is 20 kilometres away from his.

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The recent DPP march dragged Simbi's name into the mud

Simbi stated that he has never supported Malawi Congress Party from Kamuzu Banda days as some of his close relations suffered during his era.

He clarified that it was only when Chakwera assumed the MCP presidency that he started supporting the party and stressed that he has never been MCP.

“I’m more closer to Chakwera at the friendship level; me and him sit more often, talk and because of the geographical position of his village to my village, I know his people, his people know my people.

“There’s no way I would say I don’t know Chakwera that will be childish. And if some people wish that I can look at Chakwera as an enemy I can never do that,” explained Phiri

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Phiri (in a white suit) captured with Chakwera and Mia in this file photo at his son's wedding in Mchinji

He bemoaned the prevailing political climate in Malawi as not good for the economy and citizens' general well-being.

The businessman attributed the situation to the electoral system where the President was not elected by the majority of the citizens arguing that he needed to be voted by 50 percent of the population for him to be accepted.

“If we can put the institutions for the laws to be amended either you go proportional representation or if you want a direct election of a president there has to be a 50 plus.”

He noted that even if they are disagreements on issues of economics, agriculture and balance of trade politicians still have to co-exist.

“I see the hatred of politicians in Malawi is actually like they are at war and this is wrong in my understanding of things.

“Even if the President doesn’t talk to the opposition, his people should talk to some people within the opposition. In the first place you’re all Malawians; if Malawi explodes it will not spare anybody, everybody gets affected,” noted the businessman.

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The Constitutional court judges delivered the 3rd February landmark ruling

He pointed out that a number of individuals within the DPP, Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), United Democratic Front (UDF) and MCP have all benefited from his construction industry headquartered in South Africa.

Simbi stated that they all come in the name of contributing to the national discourse but are incapacitated in terms of resources.

The Khatho Holdings boss indicated that it is not his style spoiling for a fight but if people want to get to him he is ready for that.

His assessment of President Peter Mutharika is that of a gentleman and in charge of things in his posture but his Ministers do whatever they want.

On the Lilongwe Salima water Project, he lamented that a government that signs a contract which must be complied with and think it can just come out of it without any consequences is not serious.

The Khatho Chairman noted this is a national project of national importance with millions of dollars invested involving 142 engineers who came to Malawi for two and a half years conducting surveys.

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Phiri: There is no way of getting out of this project without paying; its not going to happen

He maintained that there is no way a project could be cancelled without government paying.

“There is no way of getting out of this project without paying because we’ve already spent money there is no chance.

“It’s not going to happen; there is no way Mwanamvekha should know he can’t run away from it the country has to pay,” charged Simbi.

The business tycoon bemoaned the attitude towards the project which according to him should have been completed but has hit a snag due to politics.

He disclosed that he has no choice but to sue government as he has to recover his money adding that there is just no way that he can be taken for a ride like that.

As a businessman he explained that contestations are healthy and expected but branded the Malawi transaction as the most horrible of all.