Malawi: Chikaonda Embroiled in K320mil Collusion Scam, Hits Back At Mbele – ‘Shit or Get Off the Pot’

Former central bank chief, Prof. Mathews Chikaonda, currently heading Malawi’s largest conglomerate – Press Corporation Limited – has been hit with lewd accusations by a Malawian entrepreneur based in South Africa, Joshua Mbele over the K320 million collusion scam involving Telecommunication Network of Malawi (TNM) one of the mobile service providers in the country but the economist has hit back to Mbele accusing him of character assassination.

Mbele of Ulalo Capital Investments Limited claims he was led into financial trap by TNM Directors during the time TNM was being listed that lead to the investment suffering heavy financial losses forcing them to pay almost double as much; incurring huge losses in the process.

The company paid MK321 Million for the shares instead of paying MK170m as previously negotiated and agreed.

Ulalo Capital Investments Limited (UCL) in a joint investment with SAEDF in Ulalo Telecoms Limited (UTL) lost their money in the share allocation scam when Ulalo, on assurance from Chikaonda, Board Chairperson, obtained a further loan from their funder Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund (SAEDF) to increase their shareholding to 4.99% from their existing 3%.

In August 2008, UCL wrote to the Chairman of Board indicating their intention to increase their (UTL) stake from 3% to 5%. They got positive confirmation. Acting on instructions from Sean O’Neill, who acted as broker in the deal, Ulalo was advised that for the company to reach the target of 5% it had to hold 500 million shares in the TNM which subsequently meant UTL buying an additional 238 million shares.

The broker had advised UTL to pay MK416m at 175 tambala for the additional shares. The price was later revised to K2.00 as per IPO Prospectus.

On 17th October 2008, Mbele handed over MK459m together with the [share] subscription documents to O’Neill’s office. The other directors of Ulalo Telecoms Limited are Malcolm Pryor (Chairman), Chancellor Kaferapanjira, Patrice Nkhono, Washington Kaimvi and Rafique Symonnette.

Meanwhile, in articles shared widely online, Dr Davies Lanjesi is also implicated said he he recently attempted to fraudulently change the directorship of Ulalo both in South Africa and Malawi with company registrars by lodging fake papers.

“He was caught red handed in both instances. In South Africa, he is facing criminal charges of fraud, forgery and corruption. He acted in contranvetion of Company’s Act. In Malawi, the High Court declared his attempts unlawful.”

The document further reads: ” Dr Lanjesi is the victim of poor legal advice. His lawyer, James Masumbu has performed worse than unskilled plumber. His client was reduced to desperately committing petty criminal acts after court humiliations. The assistance from Chikaonda to divert Ulalo dividends was surely the most stupid thing to embark on. It would expose the bank and employees to criminal prosecution. Court Order on Directorship.”

Chikaonda, who retires at PCL, has been branded “a highly educated person but incredibly incompetent and shameless crook” who served his personal interests at the expense of everybody.

“He colluded with Hitesh Anadkat the Chairman of Livingstone Holdings, the owners of FMB bank to commit what would only be described as the biggest fraud and inside trading in Malawi’s corporate history and Stock Exchange.

“The crime that would have seen them behind bars if President Bingu wa Mutharika had not suddenly died in April 2012. Chikaonda has an axe to grind with Ulalo for reporting him to Reserve Bank of Malawi for investigation. As the Regulator of Malawi Stock Exchange, the Central Bank launched an investigation into TNM IPO. Both Chikaonda and Anadkat as Directors were questioned.

“They were asked to submit written answers to series of questions. They had two weeks to reply. In the end, the Reserve Bank came to one conclusion. TNM IPO was a massive fraud. Criminal investigation was recommended. The report was prepared and presented to President Mutharika to authorize ACB to take over the matter. Sadly, Mutharika suddenly died of cardiac arrest in that very week of 5th April 2012. Chikaonda has a Case to answer. His determination, today, to harm Ulalo must be understood. Ulalo put him in trouble.”

Mbele said he wrote his legal advisor, Wapona Kita and stated that National Bank of Malawi failed to officially explain itself how a Bank Account was opened with forged documents.

Chikaonda response

Chikaonda has since responded, with a note copied to Nyasa Times, the economist wrote:

“Hear! Hear! Hear! That’s the beauty of Democracy. He who alleges must prove and we all have a right to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty in an open forum we call the “Courts” where such matters should be argued before an independent arbiter. Also, he who seeks justice must come with clean hands.

We also note that under the democratic dispensation, the accused has a right (not a privilege, but “the right”) to face their accuser in the said open forum.

Further, under the same democratic dispensation, we are guaranteed many rights, including freedom of speech and expression. However, there is no corollary right for people to listen to you when you choose to speak or express yourself. Yes indeed, you even have the right to make a fool of yourself.

So, for me, based on the many years of experience in Academia, public and private sectors, where I had the privilege of dealing with high-ranking people like Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc on the one hand; and also little stuff like mosquitos and fire-flies, on the other, I have learnt a number of lessons and wish to share a few as follows:

Don’t argue with a fool because you might be mistaken for one yourself.

It is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all possible doubt.

Since Mr. Mbele has just succeeded in breaking Rule No. 2 above, I wish to advise everyone else to stick to Rule No.1 above. There again, you are entitled to choose freely. Even if you choose wrongly, it’s your right.

During the years of my sojourn in America, I also learnt a few lessons and a new, more direct way of speaking, whereby you don’t call a spade a “big spoon”. So, to Mr. Mbele, I wish to offer the following advice in the parlance of Mid-west America:

‘Shit ot get off the pot’

Chikaonda has challenged to meet Mbele in court .

“I say, bring it on sooner rather than later and don’t waste our precious time with your gutter journalism stuff, masquerading on social media and Nyasa Times as ‘Grace Phiri’ or such other fake pseudo names. It is said that the truth shall set you free.

” Make evidence-based arguments in the proper forum. Also, it is instructive to note that when you speak the truth, you don’t even have to remember what you said or did, when, where, etc. The truth defends itself. So, if you were grounded in the truth, you would not have been spitting out all this junk. Grow up Mr. Mbele and smell the roses !! By the way, you tried to give me advice in one of your submissions, kindly not that I would rather take advice from a donkey that a Mr. Mbele. You are NOT competent to give me advice for I know that if one asked a turkey during Christmas as to what the best stuffing is, the turkey will say “worms, grit and sand”. So, advice from you would be like this advice from a turkey. In my retirement mode, I have the time to exercise my right to defend myself and respond to any and all allegations.

SOURCE: Nyasa Times