President Lazarus Chakwera has given Malawi’s anti-corruption watchdog to three weeks to furnish him with a report into allegations that his deputy and several senior government officials were involved in a money laundering and bribery scandal involving a British businessman.
Vice President Saulos Chilima is one of the senior Malawi government officials who have been sucked into a high-profile United Kingdom case in which British businessman Zuneth Sattar is alleged to have splashed millions of dollars to influence procurement decisions in some Malawian government ministries and agencies.
According to the UK’s National Crime Agency, apart from having Chilima in his pockets, Sattar also has allegedly bribed State House chief of staff Prince Kapondamgaga, former Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director-general Reyneck Matemba, police chief George Kainja, current Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Banda and Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority chairperson John Suzi-Banda.
The agency also reported that Sattar’s web of influence included some yet-to-be named judges who benefitted from his kickbacks.
In an address to the nation on Tuesday night, Chakwera expressed concern at the lack of action by the ACB since the allegations were made against the officials.
“None of these individuals have even been invited for interviews or questioning by investigators to hear their side of the story, and now a whole week has passed since the allegations against them were reported, yet our investigators have not even seen the need or urgency to interview them,” Chakwera said.
He added: “Considering that this matter is of high national interest, I would expect that a specific report on this issue be made available within 21 days to allow my office and the country to be appraised as Malawians have every right to know the extent of the whole thing and the actions that will be taken on it.”
He pledged not to shield any of the implicated officials who would be found by the ACB to have been involved in the scandal.