LONDON-Malawian-born businessman Zuneth Sattar says is not shaken with alleged corruption investigation dealings with Malawi government arguing that his conscious is clean.
Sattar was responding to British media on alleged corruption investigations which National Crime Agency has been undertaking for years now.
Addressing the British Press on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, Zuneth believes the move is just there to tarnish his image as he is a major supplier to the Malawi government.
He observes further that the general public is being fed with social media lies propagated by some misguided individuals over personal vendetta.
“Firstly, you will note that a lot of what you consider allegations against me is a pack of raw lies circulating on social media and digital platforms that are not credible. A lot of people have abused social media platforms to smear others without any proof and get away with it because Malawi’s cybercrime and libel laws governing digital content are not strong at providing worthwhile legal remedies to injured people.
“A lot of the stuff written and said about me on these platforms is a collection of lies as they have no basis whatsoever,” worried Sattar.
The businessman dares the British NCA to bring evidence on how he stole public funds without Malawi authorities noticing.
“Secondly, I am an international businessman of good standing. I win contracts both in the public and private sectors by offering the most competitive price in my bids. I do not sit in the boardrooms where decisions are made. In the case of my business dealings with some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the Malawi Government, I, like most suppliers, get invited to submit bids and quotations for goods. Each of these MDAs has Internal Procurement Committees (IPCs), which evaluate bids and make recommendations. Now, if this committee finds that my bid is successful, how is that my problem? Moreover, once the Procuring Entity (PE) has arrived at the preferred bidder, the Controlling Officer in that MDA writes the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) to ascertain whether procurement laws and regulations were followed. After that, the Government Contracting Unit reviews the contracts to see if there is value for money for the taxpayer and whether the language in those contracts does not put Malawians in a difficult situation. Then there is the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) itself, which investigates if at all there, was corruption in the procurement process and vets the contracts.
“The Ministry of Justice is also involved and finally the Office of the President and Cabinet has to give final approval for the contract to be executed. All the contracts awarded to me passed through all these offices and processes. All these offices approved. How then do the British authorities wake up one day and say all those processes were all wrong? How can a foreign power determine the legality or lack thereof of the processes that the sovereign government of Malawi processed within its legal and regulatory framework? Clearly, there is a sinister political game at play here that only the British Government knows. But I strongly believe it is wrong to use an innocent businessman to achieve their dark political goals in Malawi,” he said.
Sattar adds, “Thirdly, some say I corrupted all these people in all these processes and offices to clear my contracts from bidding to contract award. How is that even possible? Where did they see me giving money to anyone? They know they have no evidence because there is no evidence to find.
“So, they resort to their public relations and propaganda machines to try me in the court of public opinion through mercenary social media influencers to make their fake evidence stick and in the process try and influence possible court outcomes because they know they cannot win based on legal arguments. The head of the ACB in Malawi, Ms. Martha Chizuma, in her own words recorded in a conversation, said as much when she said she needs help to mobilise Malawians in some sort of mob justice to in order to make a tramped up case against my associate. Where is justice in that?”
“Fourthly, they say I have been paid money that I should never have been paid. Two things here; I have never received payments for goods not delivered. Also, I have no office in any MDA in Malawi and, therefore, I cannot process my own payments.
“My payments are processed and paid by officials in the public offices of the Malawi Government because they know these to be legitimate payments for goods they received from my companies in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreed contracts,” he clears out.
Sattar challenges, “Lastly, my family and I, have been vilified and lampooned on social media and elsewhere simply because we did business with the Malawi Government. But no one is going after the people who made all these decisions in all those offices that process tenders, contracts and payments. You know why? Because they have no evidence against those officials because they followed the law; they followed procurement regulations and I want to believe those officials are ready to come out in the open and defend their integrities.
“But a businessperson like me is the easier target so they come after me just to be seen to be doing something when they know deep down that I have done nothing. They need a punching bag and they think they have found one in me. They are very and wildly mistaken”.
According to reports, there has been a three-year-long investigation by Britain’s NCA into Sattar’s suspected corrupt dealings with Malawi government which according to the businessman it’s just mere speculations.
The investigation only focuses on the businessman’s dealings with both the Peter Muthalika administration and the current Lazarus Chakwera administration.
Surprisingly, British NCA did not receive any formal complaints from Malawi government on the businessman dealings with the state but on mere speculation.
The NCA even by-passed prosecuting agencies on matter when they invaded Malawi in October 2021.
The British NCA is only using ACB while dodging agencies including Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Attorney General (AG), Immigration department, police, National Intelligence Bureau (NIB).
In addition to that, in December 2015, ACB cleared Sattar’s connected companies from involvement in the 2013 Cashgate scandal.