Despite President Lazarus Chakwera’s commitment to combating corruption, his administration is under scrutiny for conducting business with companies associated with corruption suspect Zuneth Sattar.
A recent investigation by the Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) reveals that the Malawi government, through the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), approved a significant payment of 8.4 billion kwacha in a deal for the procurement of 32 Armoured Personal Carriers (APCs) from Malachite FZE, a firm linked to Sattar, who is facing corruption charges.
According to the PIJ report, Colonel Lovemore Govenor Gowa, acting Chief Logistics Officer for the MDF, authorized a payment of $4.98 million (approximately K8.4 billion) as part of the larger $19.93 million (K33.6 billion) deal.
The payment process was initially tied to Malachite FZE but was later shifted to International Armored Group, as indicated in a communication signed by MDF Chief of Legal Services Gilbert Mittawa.
The investigation raises questions about the Malawi government’s commitment to disengage from Sattar’s business network, especially after his arrest by the UK’s National Crime Agency in January 2022 on corruption allegations.
Despite restrictions imposed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on contracts associated with Sattar, the recent revelations suggest ongoing engagement, prompting concerns about transparency and adherence to anti-corruption measures.
ACB Director Martha Chizuma affirmed the bureau’s restrictions on Sattar-related contracts and emphasized that these restrictions remain in effect.
The investigation sheds light on potential discrepancies between the government’s public commitments and its actual business dealings, raising calls for accountability and a reevaluation of procurement practices.