Chakwera blows over MK100 million on transport only into Mozambique  

Malawi president Lazarus Chakwera

…questions linger if Malawi leader has purchased a new private jet

…Malawi 1 registration number on Chakwera’s flight from Mozambique raises eyebrows  

Amidst one of the worst and toughest economic conditions for the common person, Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera’s journey into neighbouring Mozambique on a private jet has sent tongues wagging. This has come hot on the heels of transport experts disclosing that the journey into Mozambique of the President might have costed Malawians over MK100 million ($ 122,330) on transport alone.

Chakwera’s trip into Mozambique where he went to seek ways of deepening relationships with the neighbouring country has come under scrutiny after records from the internet indicated that the private plane which he used was registered on radar systems as Malawi 1. The registration of the private jet is ZS-DFJ. Information that we have obtained indicates that the plane has a capacity of at most 14 people.

The registration of the plane on the radars has sent the rumour mill into an overdrive with legitimate questions being asked if the Malawi leader has purchased the plane especially as his role these days has been cast as less of a reformer who only used the reformation platform to get votes. Raising the alarm on Twitter, a Malawian wondered why the chartered plane was recorded as Malawi 1 if it had little to do with the Presidency.

“Has Malawi bought a Presidential jet, how are these names chosen?” it was tweeted by a Malawian page.

This was met by an allegation that Chakwera’s chartered plane was the same plane that was disposed off in shady dealings by former republican President Joyce Banda.

“This is the same jet that Banda pawned for herself,” posted another person.

Chakwera has not bought a jet

However, investigations conducted by Malawi24 have established that President Chakwera has not purchased the jet nor is it the same one that was pawned by former President Banda. According to the information we have sourced, the jet is owned by a South African company, Zenith Air, which provides jet charter services in Southern Africa.

According to the information that we have sourced, before the plane was bought by the South African company, it was owned by an American company which disposed it off in April 2018. Then it was owned by the South African company, eliminating the possibility that it is the same jet that was dubiously sold by Banda.

A travel expert confirmed our findings and said that Chakwera could not have purchased the jet for either personal or state use as it was still available for hirings on the company radar.

“This is the same plane that he used from Lilongwe when going to Mozambique. And it seems he has been seen using it frequently for international trips, but it is not that he has purchased it,” said the expert.

An appetite for reckless spending amidst suffering

The expert however disclosed that in chartering the plane then the Malawian taxpayer had been cost money in excess of over MK100 million in considering the rates that are used by companies in South Africa leasing out planes.

“Much as it might be a sigh of relief that the President has not spent money on purchasing a luxury jet, the cost of this trip however is not such that it can be any cause for celebration. It is reckless,” said the expert.

She disclosed that in hiring the jet then Chakwera also footed the bills of its travels from South Africa and that is what bloated the bill to an astronomical U$122, 330 which at the current exchange rate runs top of MK100 million. This is against the budget that was set by Chakwera’s own minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe who said that the Chakwera government would trim benefits for the executive.

Chakwera’s trip has come at a time that his Vice Saulos Chilima was in the news for taking with him a village of over 40 people to the US for a UN meeting. Chilima in an interview claimed he is only taking with him 15 people before charging that he is entitled to a fully paid 2 week holiday on the government of Malawi tab which he has not taken for all the teo terms that he has been President.

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