Malawian President Peter Mutharika’s longtime aide is wrapped in a corruption scandal after reports surfaced that he had become an instant billionaire in one of the world’s poorest countries. Ben Phiri, former special adviser and assistant to the president, is under investigation by Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau after he apparently amassed a remarkable fortune in one year while earning a modest government salary, according to local media reports.
Phiri stepped down from his post last week following the accusations of wrongful self-enrichment, saying his resignation would allow investigators to carry out their probe. Anti-Corruption Bureau spokesperson Egrita Ndala said the department learned of Phiri’s alleged wealth through media reports, according to Malawi Nyasa Times.
More than 40 percent of Malawians live below the poverty line of $1.25 per day. The southeastern African nation ranked 160 out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index. Malawi consumer and human rights activist John Kapito has urged the public to scrutinize the monies declared by public officials, including Phiri and Mutharika, who have made their assets public according to the Malawian constitution.