Simbi Phiri, the Executive Chairman of Khato Civils, has denied local newspaper report that he holds a Malawi passport.
Media and Public Relations Manager for Khato Civils, Taonga Botolo, told Nyasa Times in an interview on Saturday, August 26, 2017 that Phiri’s citizenship is not complicated and that he is a South African citizen who once, long time ago, held a Malawi passport because of parentage.
“The Executive Chairman does not hold a valid Malawi passport. He once held one, which he obtained in 2010,” he said.
Reports contained in the Weekend Nation of Saturday, August 26, 2017, said Phiri was issued with the Malawian passport number MA034189 in September 22 2010.
But Botolo clarified: “The Malawi government phased out all passports obtained before 2010 and holders were required to acquire new passports, which Phiri never did. Mr. Phiri has never sought another passport especially on realization that Malawian laws do not allow dual citizenship.”
Botolo reiterated that Simbi Phiri’s biological father originally hailed from Chembe Village, in an area called Nkhoma, in Lilongwe, Malawi.
“Mr. Simbi Phiri’s biological mother originally came from Tonota Village in Botswana. Mr. Simbi Phiri’s father trekked to South Africa in the 1950s in search of economic fortunes and met his wife-to-be and Mr. Simbi Phiri’s mother in a place called Mafikeng, South Africa,” he said, adding that Phiri’s father and mother have together visited both Malawi and Botswana, their respective homes.
Botolo explained that Phiri is a naturalized South African and holds a South African passport “only” and that through parentage, Mr. Simbi Phiri is from Malawi as he is also from Botswana.
“I wish to emphasize that Mr. Phiri holds a South African passport and that through parentage, he considers Malawi and Botswana his homes, too. Any media reference about his Malawi or Botswana citizenship is merely guess work,” said Botolo.
Malawi government recently engaged Phiri’s Khato Civils, which is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, to construct a 130 kilometres water pipeline from Lake Malawi in Salima to the capital city, Lilongwe, to ease water supply problems in the city and surrounding areas.
The multi-million Kwacha water project has raised a lot of interest among many groups, including civil society and private businesses, because of its lucrativeness, with others alleging the tender process was flawed.
“It seems some ill-minded people are extremely resolute to depict Mr. Simbi Phiri and Khato Civils as corrupt by, among other things, pursuing the matter of Mr. Phiri’s alleged multiple citizenship. But I can assure you all this shall come to naught because Mr. Phiri and Khato Civils are law-abiding and run legitimate business,” concluded Botolo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :