Businessman Abdul Karim Batatawala has come under fire from various sector of the society for claiming K250billion as a compensation from poor taxayers money, a move which social commentators have dubbed it ‘daylight robbery’.
According to Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, four businesspersons are claiming about K429 billion from government in compensations, representing around 22 percent of the K2 trillion total claims in which Batatawala tops the list.
Nyirenda said Batatawala, who is claiming about K250 billion through 20 business entities alone accounts for at least 12.5 percent of the total claims.
And the AG said: “Batatawala’s claims in total are about K250 billion. So he has got over 20 companies and most of them have got cases against government.
“So, when we are talking about Batatawala, we are talking about his companies.”
And writing on his official facebook page one of the social commentators Horace Nyaka was very bitter with the develoment:
“How many roads or schools can you build with such K250billion? How much was the budget for this year? How many students can we support with this? How many cancer and heart patients can we support with K250billion? Tsangano road, Rumphi Nyika Chitipa road? . Kulimva kukoma dziko.” Writes Nyaka.
Ramchand Hashmatrai is second on the list with his land claim of about K131 billion, a claim that the High Court in Blantyre on Monday stopped following the AG’s challenge.
The K 429 billion compensation claims by the four businesspersons, of which three are Malawians of Asian origin, is one and a half times the proposed budget for the Ministry of Health at K283.57 billion.The AG said the four businesspersons’ claims exclude interests and that almost all of them have more than one compensation claim.
He further said his office receives new claims each passing day, with most of them coming from police on false imprisonment, land disputes, construction projects, procurement and Malawi Rural Electrification Project (Marep). Nyirenda noted that most of the claims are exaggerated.
“At the same time we are receiving more claims, at the same time we have got cases that have been dismissed in our favour,” said Nyirenda.