Corrupt Asians dent Malawi image: K600m treasury payouts open can of worms

Most of Asian businesses are said to be getting contracts in government and payments swiftly using corrupt means, a Malawian democracy activist based in the UK has said.

The  observation comes after Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), with the help of the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM),  said it is investigating how Treasury  paid out a huge sum of money estimated at K600 million (about $1.5m).

Allegations of revelations of various financial misdeeds at Treasury and the Accountant General have also gone viral on social media in the wake of the shooting on September 13 2013 of Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.

Asked to comment on the matter, Ahmed Dassu, the UK based democracy campaigner and a businessman of some substance said: “The K600 million is just the surface. At the outset let me say that 99 per cent of the Asians in Malawi are law abiding, but that it is less than 10 individuals among them, who  are responsible for holding Malawi’s hard fought democracy, hostage to their corruption and bribery.

Dassu: A few corrupt Asians are on the loose

Dassu: A few corrupt Asians are on the loose

“The same individuals are to be held accountable for the $150 million or more worth of assets that  Bingu Mutharika corruptly accumulated.”

He added: “In fact many estimate that since the dawn of democracy more than $4 billion has been transferred out of Malawi by these 10 or less Asians the in excessive overcharging for tender awards they corruptly acquired for supply of fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, school exercise books and other requirements to the government.”

According to Dassu,  Malawi Government contracts to this day, even after the salvation of Malawians from Bingu wa Mutharika’s abusive rule and looting, are monopolized by the same less than 10 Asian suppliers,.

“ It’s heart rendering for me to see that  the parliamentary democracy for which many sacrificed so much to achieve in 1994 is failing to bring these abuses to an end. Even after the constitutional change of government Asians, continue with total impunity and disregard at the development that they are denying Malawians,” said Dassu.

He said  Asians who continue to receive major government contracts know which hands to grease “in the process banking their ill gotten money or owning properties and businesses in Johannesburg, Dubai, London, even as far as Australia and Canada. And these stolen billions are lost to Malawi’s economy forever to serve to develop other countries.”

Dassu added: “My sincere and heartfelt advice to the incumbent President and the opposition leaders is before 2014 elections, tell Malawians what you intend to do about the corruption and bribery and others who hold our country’s democracy and development to hostage. Not Bingu’s empty words of zero corruption. We want to see the sincerity of your message proclaimed aloud at your rallies.

“For Malawians should choose their next leader based on his or her proven commitment in power or message on the fight against corruption and to make these less than 10 individuals account for the excessive prices that they have charged the government, the under supply or even worse non supply for which they have been paid with public money.”

He said these Asians and the others find “ready hands” to collect their bribes and facilitate their corrupt practices,.

“Yes there are too indigenous Malawians who too looted the country’s Treasury. But the Asians have had the lion’s share of the looting. They can give political donations from corruptly acquired money  and bring into power anybody they want for now Malawi’s democracy is prisoner to which politicians or political party has the most money to fund its campaign.”

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