The President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday evening held a National Presidential Address at State House in Lilongwe where he disclosed to the Malawians that the Anti-Corruption Bureau has submitted an investigation report on United Kingdom based business man, Zuneth Sattar who is suspected to be involved in corrupt practices with Malawi’s government figures.
President Lazarus Chakwera said that a total of 84 individuals are appearing on the UK based business man Zuneth Sattar’s list and are alleged to have received funds from the corruption suspect.
During the Presidential National Address at state house, Chakwera said that the Zuneth Sattar’s corruption is deeply entrenched and it has affected a number of sectors.
Public officers from Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Malawi police, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Office of President and Cabinet, Office of the Vice President, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB),Judiciary, ministry of Finance, ministry Information, ministry Tourism, Homeland Security, received funds from Zuneth Sattar according to Bureau’s report.
President Lazarus Chakwera said the report has disclosed that 53 public officers and former public officers received money from Sattar between March 2021 and October 2021.
31 individuals from private sector and the media also received money from the UK based Business man.
This brings the total of beneficiaries to 84.
He added that of the 84 named individuals, 13 have been extensively investigated and they include the vice president, Inspector General of Police, State House Chief of staff, and Chairperson of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).
He, on that basis, has since with immediate effect fired the Inspector General, Dr Kainja, Statehouse Chief of staff and PPDA Chairman.
He said, “First, the Bureau’s report states that it has recordings of telephone conversations between the IG, Dr Kainja and Mr. Sattar, allegedly discussing procurement deals and kickbacks. The description of how the IG seems compromised is clear in the report, and I have decided to remove him from office on that basis.”
Meanwhile, Dr Chakwera added that the Bureau’s report contains no information or description of any kind regarding what exactly the Chief of Staff for State Residence and the Board Chairperson of the PPDA did in relation to the five contracts the Bureau has been investigating.
But because the mentioning of their names in the report raises public suspicion, it is necessary for Jim to take measures to protect public trust in those offices.
He said, “The Chief of Staff for State Residence is hereby suspended to pave way for investigations without his interference; The Chairperson of the PPDA will similarly be excuted from his official duties.”
Chakwera has failed to fire Dr Chilima from his office saying he is not mandated to do that, however, announced withholding of delegated duties to the vice president.
“The same applies to the Vice President, The report states that the Bureau has concluded that he is among the 13 who conducted themselves corruptly in dealing with Mr.Sattar but I have no any single of information from the Bureau’s report about he did.
“As for him, his office is unique in that the Constiituition does not provide for his suspension or removal from it by the President, because he holds that office by the will of Malawian voters, which I respect.
“As such, the best thing I can do for now, is to withhold from his office any delegated duties while waiting for the Bureau to substantiate its allegations against him and to make known its course of action in relation to such, ” said Chakwera.
The President has since described the report from the Anti-Corruption Bureau as an example of substandard work because of the glaring information gaps in it, including the absence of any information about what the Bureau’s plan of action is.
Malawi Guardian quotes, “I consider the report to be an example of substandard work. And on a matter as serious and sensitive as this, Malawian deserves better.
“An investigation of this scope, of this seriousness, and of this sensitivity requires skillful hands and cool head, to avoid rookies procedural and strategic mistakes that risk giving the corrupt cartels in our land footing to obstruct and oppose every move we make to defeat them. The stakes are way too high for that. What Malawians deserves from Bureau in substance that makes a difference in pursuit of justice, not just suspicion that makes the headlines.”
President Lazarus Chakwera says the report has exposed inflating of prices of goods sold to government.
According to Dr Chakwera, over the past five years Malawi has paid about $150 million to companies belonging to Sattar.
For four years between 2017 and 2021, the Malawi Police Service and the Malawi Defence Force awarded 16 contracts worth over 150 million US dollars to five companies belonging to Mr. Sattar.
The Bureau has found that beyond the 84 individuals who allegedly received money from Mr. Sattar in 2021, his associate also kept a record of all the persons who allegedly received money from Mr. Sattar from 2008 to 2020. But the report does not include any of the names of those found in the 14 ledgers that contain this information.
The ledger books confiscated from Mr. Sattar’s associate include donations to politicians from all major political parties in the country.
Chakwera has instructed the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the report submitted by ACB.