One of the major funders of newly-formed United Transformation Movement (UTM) , Eric Chapola who is also NICO Insurance General Manager is believed to be the one behind the fire that gutted NICO Building in Blantyre central business district on Friday morning.
Sources at the institution say Chapola, a direct brother to former First Lady Callista Mutharika, has for the past three months been siphoning company money out and funding UTM activities.
To his dismay, internal auditors at the organization picked red flags in the company’s cash flow and expenditure and demanded through the board an external audit. In a bid to conceal his shady transactions Chapola decided to burn evidence.
Nico management says they will recover all documents that have been burnt because they operate an cyber backup using an Indian Ocean information bank located in Mauritius.
“Everything is intact. We might have lost some assests and documents but all our information is safe in the back up bank,” said one senior manager on Friday.
The events leading to the arson date back to a couple of days ago when UTM senior members led by Patricia Kaliati and Callista met Eric and his other brother Andrew and other party officials at St Johns Catholic Secondary School where a plan was hatched to burn any evidence at NICO offices.
Callista has taken her bitterness towards President Mutharika and his wife to another level such that she has mobilized all her family to join UTM, more so to fight government through clandestine means.
The meeting is said to have also discussed plans to disrupt Democratic Progressive Party primaries which commence on October 8 in the Northern Region.
UTM has been trying to throw spanners in primary elections in all political parties hoping that losers will automatically switch allegiance to the new movement.
Social and political observers have questioned UTM on the funds it uses to conduct major rallies week in- week out saying failure to disclose the source of funds is tantamount to lack of integrity from a grouping that claims to have come to change how things are done.