Mutharika questions Mussa’s US travel ban

President Peter Mutharika has questioned the timing of presidential aide Uladi Mussa’s United States travel ban.

The United States of America banned Mussa – who is Presidential advisor on Political Affairs – from going to the US due to his involvement in significant corruption.

Reacting to the ban, Presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani said the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) will seek an explanation from the United States government.

According to Kalilani, the Mutharika administration wants to understand why Mussa has been banned six years after he served as Minister of Home Affairs.

“You may recall that honourable Uladi Mussa has never served as Home Affairs minister in Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’s administration.

“The OPC would also like to appreciate why a decision based on Mussa’s service in [former president] Dr. Joyce Banda’s administration six years ago has been made now.

“The government to government engagement on the matter would help both sides appreciate the decision’s underlying issues and the merit therein,” he said.

Kalilani added that Mutharika will form an opinion on the issue after engaging the US government.

In its statement on July 3, the US Embassy in Malawi said Mussa’s ban was issued under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Act of 2019 which provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

Last week, Mussa told the local media that he has not been proven guilty hence the ban is unfair.

“The decision is totally wrong. Nobody is guilty until proven guilty by the court of law. I did my noble duty as a minister and as far as I am concerned, I am innocent,” Mussa said adding that he was not planning to go to the US anytime soon.

Mutharika appointed Mussa his special adviser on parliamentary affairs last month.

Mussa is currently answering the charge of fraudulently issuing citizenships and passports to Burundians and Rwandans among other foreign nationals when he was the minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security.

The former minister was arrested in 2017 and later released on bail.

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