Malawi's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Eisenhower Mkaka, MP has defended himself over corruption allegations after a Malawi Revenue Authority letter authorising the duty free importation of his top of the range Mercedes Benz became public.
Malawi's Members of Parliament are among the privileged few allowed duty free importation of vehicles. They are allowed to bring in two. Some are questioning such provisions saying they benefit the privileged.
Beatrice Gumbo commenting on Mkaka's Facebook page said she was envious of the duty free privileges: “We get goods of far less value yet overcharged. We were exorbitantly charged on a vehicle just some months ago. Actually, MRA had to revalue and increase the tax because they didn’t believe our documents for the actual price, we bought the car. Please let's level the playing field."
Reacting, Mkaka said he has not become corrupt and disputed claims that the car was a brand new Mercedes Benz valued at K72 million.
“It is true that I have bought a Mercedes Benz, but it is not brand new, it is second hand. I bought it for GBP45,000, which roughly translates to K45 million (all costs inclusive), and not K72 million as alleged. I was appointed cabinet minister on 8 July. By that time, I had already ordered the car. I ordered the car on 05 July, and on 14 July, I wrote the Malawi Revenue Authority to ask for duty-free clearance (MRA response hereto attached). I declared this car together with all my other assets, to the Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations," he said.
Mkaka explained he has several sources of income which enabled him to afford the car.
“At that point, I had been working as an MP for a year. Secondly, in June this year, I announced that my former employers, the First Merchant Bank, compensated me after winning a court case against them. I even announced this here on my Facebook page in June this year when I got the first tranche of the compensation.
“Thirdly, through my wife, I have been carrying out a business of agricultural commodities for years. All these made me afford to buy the car. I have never received a single kwacha through corruption from anyone,” the Minister said in trying to clear out his name.
He challenged anyone with evidence of his corrupt dealings to lodge a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Bureau or the Malawi Police Service.
"I am not corrupt and never will be," said the Malawi Congress Party Secretary general who also brandished his house Area 47 house, which he said, he built using a loan while working for First Merchant Bank.