Chakwera approved two contracts given to Sattar – Report

Malawi Economy

Businessperson Zuneth Sattar was found with several Malawi Government internal documents at his house in the United Kingdom, including a letter dated 30th September 2020  which showed that Chakwera had given a go ahead to the Malawi Defence Force to sign two contracts for the procurement of anti-riot equipment.

Sattar whose house was raided by the UK’s National Crime Agency, was also found with various correspondence related to the same contracts.

The Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) reported that one of the documents found in Sattar’s house was a letter dated the 29th September 2020 from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) to Commander of Malawi Defense Force confirming PPDA’s approval of two contracts, signed off by Eillas E.D. Hausi, PPDA Director General.

The PPDA also gave MDF  ‘no objection’ to the awarding of the two contracts. This was done in a letter 16th July 2020 and the letter was also found in possession of Sattar.

The NCA in its files said: “The covert searches of his office premises established that SATTAR is in possession of internal government documents relating to these contracts which should not be held by anyone outside of the Malawian government. It is not yet known how SATTAR came to be in possession of these documents, but the nature of them means his acquisition must have been facilitated by someone involved in the procurement process.”

According to a report which Anti-Corruption Bureau submitted to Chakwera, Sattar allegedly gave bribes to Chief of Staff Prince Kapondamgaga, former PPDA chairperson John Suzi Banda and over 50 public officers.

However, Chakwera and Commander Vincent Nundwe are not among those suspected to have received bribes.

A total of 53 public officers allegedly received bribes from Sattar whose companies were awarded 16 contracts worth over US$150 million (over K150 billion) between 2017 and 2021.

Between the 17th January 2019 and the 3rd March 2021, the Accountant General of Malawi paid a total of US$35,416,597 (about K36 billion) to a Bank of Baroda account of owned by Sattar’s company, according to PIJ.

Sattar used money from the account to purchase and manage property in the UK, attracting the attention of the NCA which started to investigate the source of his wealth.

Sattar was arrested in October 2021 by the NCA on allegations of corruption relating to three public contracts awarded between 2019 and 2021 with the Malawian government but he is yet to be charged and is currently on bail.

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