The expenses spent by Malawi President Peter Mutharika and his entourage of about 115 delegates to United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York continue to raise eyebrows as more Malawians are demanding an explanation on the apparent mismanagement of taxpayers money as the country is facing economic challenges.
Media reports have revealed that President Mutharika flew to UN in Bombardier BD700-1A10 Global Express registration Number OE-IGS owned by UK Private Jet Charter to Dubai where he boarded a commercial flight to New York. He was expected to travel back using the same means at a cost of MK 200 Million from Dubai to Malawi for 12 people.
But State House Press Office statement has said the claims are unverified and aims at denting Mutharikas government. In its statement, the government said the local Media has failed in its reporting to meet the required standards for ethical, truthful, fair and balanced reporting.
State House has rightly quoted the registration number “OE-IGS” and “Global Express” as the plane the president chartered, while deliberately omitting the name Bombadier.
Part of the statement reads, “The ZBS news network is regrettably forcing us to conclude that the station has hatred for the current government and the current President Peter Mutharika. The government did not, and has never made any attempts to hide that the President travels on chartered aircraft. It should be known for a fact that the government, and particularly the President, has ensured that transactions for these aircrafts are done prudently to minimise costs as much as possible.”
However, Malawians have described the remarks by State House Press Office as an act of self-defence.
In his remarks Velius Kalipo Phiri, uttered that Malawi leaders are undemocratic and citizens do not have access to information. He asked government to consider transparency and accountability as paramount and Malawians have to know the truth on the matter.
Despite the call from Malawians, government has failed to let the dust settle by revealing the amount of taxpayers money that has been spent on the trip.