CORRUPTION FIGHT IN MALAWI DEAD

Look at this scenario: You had a businessman by the name Zuneth Satter who had a company that was involved in the stinking and free-for-all plunder of K20 billion public funds at Capital Hill during the reign of former president Joyce Banda between 2012 and 2014.

As investigations were underway by investigating agencies that included Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Malawi Police Service, Sattar, apparently with full knowledge he was guilt and was likely to be arrested and consequently convicted and sentenced, sneaked out of Malawi to stay in the United Kingdom (UK).

Of course not surprising that he could opt and afford to stay in the United Kingdom, he had stolen public money that enabled him stay anywhere in the world.

This crooked businessman, using his proxies, continued to operate his businesses in Malawi, and remained safe from any arrest in relation to his company’s involvement in the Cashgate.

At a time the ACB intensified Cashgate-related arrests that resulted in eventual trials and convictions, Satter, the undisputable Cashgate Kingpin, remained in his own heaven, apparently smiling mockingly and bragging he was playing it smatter.

Now hear this: After President Peter Mutharika defeated Joyce Banda in the May 2014 polls, the Cashgate Kingpin apparently breathed a sigh of relief, we don’t know why, but your guess is as good as ours, because he dared everyone and spat at Malawians in the face by flying into Malawi.

For someone wanted by authorities for his involvement in the infamous Cashgate, the Malawi Police Service (Fiscal Police) and the ACB who did not hesitate to pounce on Cashgate suspects looked the other way, not even a mere summoning of him just to put wool in the eyes of Malawians, nothing. Smatter this guy is, you agree?

Days, weeks, months and years went by, no arrest, nothing and just business as usual.

When some people privileged with clandestine information and aware of the goings-on start speculating about the Satter-Peter Mutharika connection, to the effect that he was actually invited by him to return to Malawi, that’s the kind of speculation one would be compelled to believe.

And we choose to believe that.

Now here is the mother insult from Satter to Malawians, and not only an insult from him, but even from the Peter Mutharika administration that has taken Malawians for granted way too far. They think we are all fools.

Hear this; before Satter is exonerated from the 2012-14 Cashgate, and without an iota of shame, he connives with the President and some officers in the State machinery and dubiously awarded a K27 billion contract to upgrade the Passport Issuance System (PIS) and Introduction of the Electronic Passport from the Malawi Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services end last year.

The ACB stays mute. And everyone watches as the mother Malawi is being plundered in a broad light.

This award happened after Satter’s company, Two Trees Investments, breached set instructions set by the Immigration and some set laws in the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act that disallows partnering of companies that participate in the same bid.

Satter, knowing his company had no capacity to execute the contract and experience as one of the requisites for qualification, connived with one company, ZETES of Belgium, and asked them to pullout so that they can partner with Two Trees Investments, which they did. Clear collusion!

Collusion, we all know, is a non-competitive clandestine and usually illegal agreement between rivals that attempts to disrupt the market’s equilibrium. Collusion involves people or companies that would typically compete but who conspire to gain an unfair market advantage.

The Immigration Department, well aware of ZETES participation in the bid, which they later withdrew, went ahead and awarded Two Trees Investments the K27 billion contract, and the Chief Immigration Officer Masauko Medi had this nonsensical response, ‘ZETES was invited and participated in the bid, but they did not finally submit their tender’, seriously?

The Chief Immigration Officer was well aware ZETES pulled out because Two Trees connived with it, which was a breach of the set regulations and laws, but we know why he proceeded to dubiously award the contract—the Mutharika power working, it is obvious the President and his cronies have a huge share in all this.

After some companies that participated in the bid went to court, the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, a man of his enviable stature in law, put up a rather pathetic and ridiculous argument, saying the matters needed not to be pursued and the injunction that was obtained to stop the awarding of the contract be

vacated because the contract, in any case, was already awarded to Two Trees Investments. We have real problems here.

Was the Attorney General seriously thinking that the litigants be denied their rights to pursue a matter when they went to the courts for the same reason that the contract was awarded to Two Trees, dubiously that is? Kaphale should have been in the forefront to champion the rights people have to take matters to courts, and the last person to gag voices that opt for the justice system.

Was it another conspiracy between some mafias in the State machinery and in the justice system that the injunction was finally vacated by a single Malawi Supreme Court judge? We are watching!

These guys are throwing everything to the bin, and they don’t care, while the Attorney General said in the court the contract was in an case awarded to Two Trees Investments, no advert about the same to inform the public about the award is placed in the newspapers yet is set requirement that once a contract is awarded, adverts have to be placed in newspapers. Nothing happened; perhaps they intend to do it when the cash is safely in the pockets of the beneficiaries.

Malawians, it‘s time we wake up and demand the end to this daylight thievery. We trusted Anti-Corruption Bureau, but look, we are not safe in their hands, the bureau itself is corrupt to the boot.

Imagine this; a whistleblower blows it right into the ears of the bureau by lodging a complaint how the K27 billion contract at Immigration Department was dubiously awarded, but the Bureau, in its all the reasonableness, is yet to jump on the matter and act.

And to the ACB, this should not have been a matter to treat like any other ordinary complaint; this is the matter involving a Cashgate Kingpin who dodged arrest by escaping to the United Kingdom and only returned when Mutharika won the presidency.

And to add salt on the wound, there is also another matter in which the President is also entangled with the Cashgate Kingpin, Sattar.

In this different fiasco, Mutharika, also recently, instructed Malawi Police Service to award Satter’s company a food ration pack tender, just as he did with Zammer Karim in the U$5 750 000.00 (about K2.7 billion) tender which saw Karim depositing K145 million in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account whose sole signatory is President Mutharika.

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