Chakwera talks with JB on violence, cashgate and jet

Malawi Congress Party (MCP)  president Dr Lazarus Chakwera has confirmed holding talks with  Head of State  Joyce Banda at Sanjika Palace on Tuesday which he said centred on matter of national interest.

Speaking to journalists in Lilongwe Tuesday, Chakwera said their discussion was centred on the political violence which is rearing its ugly head on the road to May 20 tripartite elections.

“I can confirm that after being very concerned with the political violence in Thyolo, the attack of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials in Blantyre and torching of the party’s vehicle in Mzuzu, I decided to meet the President.

“Yesterday [Tuesday] I phoned President Joyce Banda to seek audience and she accepted. We met in Blantyre where I told her that political violence should not continue.”

Chakwera and MCP big wigs addressing a news conference
Chakwera and MCP big wigs addressing a news conference

” I registered my dissatisfaction on the way things are in the country and we had a very fruitful talks,” Chakwera said without elaborating what they agreed.

He called on politicians to avoid making statement that would incite violence or provoke others. The MCP president also appealed to Malawi Police to avoid using live bullets in riot control.

The MCP torchbearer said he also discussed with President Banda on the cashgate scandal.

Malawi is rocked by the worst fraud scandal in the public service which has reportedly drained over K100 billion (over $250m) of taxpayers’ money through dubious pay-outs to companies that did not provide any goods or services.

President Banda argues that the current exposure of theft and looting in public service is a result of her government’s efforts in curbing the malpractice.

Chakwera said he talked with Banda on the sale of a presidential jet to British Virgin Islands Company Bohnox Enterprises.

There have been fears that the cash form jet sale may have been embezzled.

MCP is demanding government to supply documents and other proof relating to how the jet proceeds were utilized.

Government says the money was used to offset a military arms debt, which the government owed to private defence firm Paramount Group, whose subsidiary is Bohnox.

Defence Minister Ken Kadondo has insisted that the government cannot release documents concerning the purchase of military equipment because they are classified.

Asked by journalists if he was satisfied with the answers the President gave him on cashgate and the sale of jet, Chakwera only said he understood her.

“Understanding and satisfying are two different issues, so I understood her.  It’s the same things she has been saying,” he said.

Chakwera also indicated that he wants to meet DPP president Peter Mutharika to discuss matters of national interest.

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