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Collins Mtika

Mzuzu, Malawi
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About Collins
Collins Mtika is a seasoned Malawian investigative journalist, renowned for his in-depth reporting on economic and social issues within Malawi and the broader Southern African region. Born in Malawi and raised in Zimbabwe, where he completed his primary and secondary education, Mtika returned to Malawi following the closure of mines in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s. His journalistic career began in 2002, and since then, he has become a prominent figure in the media landscape, serving as the Bureau Chief for the Northern region at Blantyre Newspapers Limited, which publishes several major newspapers including The Daily Times, Sunday Times, Malawi News, and The Weekend Times.

Mtika's commitment to uncovering the truth led him to establish the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Malawi (CIJM), an organization dedicated to promoting transparency and accountability. His reporting has exposed the exploitation in the cotton industry by Chinese firms, the concealment of child abuse allegations by the St John of God order, and the detrimental impact of illicit financial flows, smuggling, and tax evasion on Malawi's economy. He has also worked as a Chief Reporter for The Guardian, a tri-weekly publication, and has contributed to international outlets, serving as a correspondent for IPS (Africa), heading the investigations desk for www.nyasatimes.com, and reporting for the South African weekly Mail & Guardian and Africa Independent.

In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Mtika is furthering his education in the field of communication, pursuing a BA in Communication Science through distance learning with the University of South Africa (UNISA). His academic background also includes a certificate in Journalism from Pen Point School of Journalism, a certificate in mental health, a Diploma in Journalism from Agrrey Memorial, and an advanced diploma in Journalism (ABMA). Through his work, Mtika continues to shine a light on the complex issues that affect public revenue, labor practices, and the mining industry, with a steadfast goal of holding those in power to account.
Languages
English
Services
Investigative Journalism Fact Checking
Skills
Investigative Reporting Fact Checking
Portfolio

Chakwera's new dawn in corruption fight is turning to dusk

01 Oct 2023  |  www.maravipost.com
The article critically examines the ongoing struggle against corruption in Malawi, highlighting the ineffectiveness of successive governments in prosecuting high-profile cases like that of former President Bakili Muluzi. Despite President Lazarus Chakwera's promises to combat corruption, critics argue that his administration has failed to take meaningful action. The article discusses the systemic issues contributing to corruption, including political appointments and compromised institutions, and features opinions from various analysts and organizations on the need for greater accountability and transparency.

Allowances Gala: How COVID-19 funds meant for Katawa, Chiputula markets got misused

27 Aug 2023  |  maravipost.com
In Mzuzu, Malawi, COVID-19 funds intended for market upgrades were misused, with no construction done despite payments for materials and labor. The Mzuzu City Council (MCC) received MK35 million for pandemic measures but diverted funds for personal allowances and unrelated projects. A 2021 audit revealed mismanagement, yet no one has been held accountable. The MCC's CEO, Gomezgani Nyasulu, flouted regulations and was interdicted but later reinstated. Market committees were bypassed in project implementations, leading to stalled projects and wasted resources. Despite recommendations for repayment and prosecution, no action has been taken against those involved in the malpractices.

Catholic Brother left to abuse street children in Malawi

02 Apr 2023  |  Center for Investigative Journalism Malawi
The article reports on the St John of God order's cover-up of 20 child abuse allegations against Brother Aidan Clohessy, a school principal in Dublin, who was allowed to continue working with vulnerable children in Malawi despite the claims. The first allegation against Brother Aidan emerged in 1985, and he was relocated to Malawi in 1993. Even as victims in Ireland received compensation, Brother Aidan's contact with children in Malawi remained unaffected, and staff in Malawi were unaware of the allegations. The Irish Mail on Sunday and the Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi conducted a 10-month investigation, revealing that Brother Aidan housed street children and supervised their showers. By 2012, Brother Aidan faced 10 child sex allegations in Ireland, and he was eventually withdrawn from public ministry and returned to Ireland. The order has reported all allegations to the appropriate authorities and has stated it will cooperate with investigations.

Malawi bequeaths cotton production to Chinese firm

01 Apr 2023  |  Center for Investigative Journalism Malawi
The article discusses the involvement of Chinese firms in Malawi's cotton industry, highlighting the significant investment and technological advancements brought by companies like China-Africa Cotton Development Ltd. Despite the potential economic benefits, the article raises concerns about the lack of skills transfer to local Malawian workers, the trade imbalance favoring China, and the hardships faced by local cotton farmers who are trapped in a cycle of poverty due to high input costs and low returns. The piece also touches on the historical context of Malawi's shift from Taiwan to China as a diplomatic ally and the subsequent investments in the cotton sector. The author suggests that the Malawi government should implement policies to protect local farmers and ensure skill transfer from Chinese experts to Malawians.

Tax outflows, debt cripples Malawi’s growth

01 Apr 2023  |  Center for Investigative Journalism Malawi
Malawi is facing significant economic challenges due to revenue losses from smuggling, unregulated mining, and tax evasion by companies. Between 2010 and 2017, the country lost $980 million due to various illicit financial activities. The African Development Bank and other experts suggest that Malawi needs to improve tax collection and formalize the informal sector to combat these losses. The Global Financial Integrity reports that Malawi lost billions over the past decade due to illicit outflows, which exceeds the national budget. Corruption scandals have led to donor funding freezes, increasing domestic borrowing and debt. The government is considering taxing the informal sector to mitigate these effects. However, the Malawi Revenue Authority has struggled to meet revenue targets due to a sluggish economy. Efforts to address these issues, such as 'Operation Kuluma', have been delayed due to inter-agency disagreements. The country's outdated mining legislation and lack of strong regulations also contribute to revenue loss.

Red flag over Malawi telecoms giant’s books

07 Feb 2021  |  The Standard
Airtel Malawi, a prominent telecommunications company in Malawi, is under scrutiny for potentially dubious financial practices, including tax evasion and questionable transactions with its parent company, Bharti Airtel Malawi Holdings BV, and affiliate Malawi Towers. Investigations by the Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi and Information for Development Trust reveal concerns over the company's financial dealings, including dividend payments, debt cancellations, and management fees. The Malawi Revenue Authority and other organizations highlight the impact of tax treaties on domestic resource mobilization, with significant tax losses reported. Despite denials from Airtel Malawi's PR manager, the company's financial practices remain under suspicion.

Arthur Peter Mutharika: His government has failed to tame nationwide protests over his controversial victor in the May polls By Collins Mtika Weak controls over Malawi’s banking system and delays in prosecuting cases when money-laundering has been…

Tax outflows, debt cripples Malawi’s growth

16 Apr 2018  |  malawi24.com
Malawi is facing significant revenue losses due to illicit financial activities such as smuggling of minerals, unregulated mining, and tax evasion by companies. Between 2010 and 2017, the country lost $980 million due to various forms of financial misconduct. Experts from institutions like the African Development Bank and the University of Massachusetts highlight the need for improved tax collection and regulation to address these issues. The country's economic growth is hindered by these losses, and the government's attempts to increase domestic revenue have been complicated by corruption scandals and ineffective tax collection by the Malawi Revenue Authority. The informal sector, which is substantial in Malawi, is also being considered for taxation to mitigate the effects of donor funding withdrawal. However, there is a lack of powerful legislation to manage the modern mining sector, which contributes to revenue loss. A government project, 'Operation Kuluma,' aimed at investigating financial crimes, has been delayed due to inter-agency disagreements.

Colonial relic decimating Malawian women

29 Jul 2016  |  Malawi 24
Malawi's maternal mortality rate is alarmingly high, with unsafe abortions contributing significantly to the deaths. A colonial-era law criminalizing abortion is under scrutiny, with the Coalition for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (COPUA) leading efforts to reform it. The law's ambiguity and harsh penalties are criticized for endangering women's lives. Various stakeholders, including traditional leaders and clergy, support the campaign for safe abortions and increased contraceptive use. A Special Commission has proposed a new Termination of Pregnancy Bill to decriminalize abortion and align with international standards.

Panama papers: Press Trust among 46 Malawi businesses in off-shore tax haven

17 May 2016  |  Malawi 24
The Reserve Bank of Malawi approved Press Trust Overseas Limited, a subsidiary of Press Trust, to register in offshore tax havens, allowing it to avoid paying taxes in Malawi. Press Trust, a significant organization in Malawi, is among 46 businesses and individuals listed in the Panama Papers for exploiting secretive offshore tax regimes. The leak reveals that Press Trust has been using the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca since 2008 for its offshore services. The Reserve Bank of Malawi's spokesperson stated that the central bank approves such registrations based on the information provided by applicants. Experts argue that businesses often use offshore companies to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Press Trust's CEO, Patrick Mhango, defended the offshore registration as a commercial decision to expand investments globally.

Malawians want £100m for UK attack

26 Mar 2015  |  mg.co.za
Survivors and relatives of 51 freedom fighters killed by British soldiers in 1959 are seeking £100-million in compensation from the UK. Despite resistance from both the Malawi and UK governments, lawyer Ralph Mhone is leading the petition, citing a precedent set by the 2013 compensation to Kenyans tortured during the Mau Mau uprising. The Malawi government has not formally pursued the claim, while the British high commission has dismissed it. Opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera supports the compensation, emphasizing the need to honor the freedom fighters' families. The issue remains contentious, with historical and diplomatic implications.

Cashgate: Banda says people were coerced into implicating her

25 Nov 2014  |  mg.co.za
Malawi's former president Joyce Banda claims she has written confessions from suspects in the Cashgate scandal, indicating they were coerced into implicating her. Banda's media liaison officer, Tusekele Mwanyongo, stated that Banda will release these confessions at an appropriate time. The scandal involves the disappearance of significant funds during Banda's and former president Bingu wa Mutharika's tenures. Businessperson Oswald Lutepo, currently on trial, has accused Banda of being the mastermind behind the fraud. Banda denies any involvement, suggesting the allegations are part of a campaign against her amid growing calls for her return due to the country's deteriorating economic situation.

Cashgate: Malawi’s bigwigs feel the heat

24 Oct 2014  |  mg.co.za
Malawian prosecutors are set to examine phone logs of former president Joyce Banda and three former top officials in connection with the $48-million Cashgate scandal. The Anti-Corruption Bureau is investigating the disappearance of funds during Banda's and former president Bingu wa Mutharika's tenures. Several high-profile arrests have been made, including former budget director Paul Mphwiyo and former deputy inspector general of police Nelson Bophani. Businessperson Oswald Lutepo, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, claims the logs will prove his innocence. The scandal has led to the suspension of foreign aid to Malawi, with Germany pledging $25-million for further audits. Banda denies the allegations, calling them a smear campaign.
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