Revelations continue to flow: and the latest pertains to the Immigration Department. Businessman Leston Ted Mulli, it turns out, has a diplomatic passport. His passport number has been confirmed to be number MD000183.
According to Immigration Department sources, he is not the only odd one. Quite a few prominent businessmen too acquired diplomatic passports under the tenure of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
Diplomatic passports are ordinarily issued to people who travel internationally on official state business and in Malawi they are classically given to diplomats when they are posted overseas.
At least one Consul (based in Europe and name withheld) was denied diplomatic passport on appointment as honorary consul for Malawi.
In many countries, if someone qualifies for a diplomatic passport, his or her immediate family qualifies as well. With respect to Mulli, it has not been established if his family members have also benefitted.
According to the Immigration Act of Malawi only diplomats, elected MPs, and Ministers qualify for a diplomatic passport. Civil Servants are only awarded a service passport.
His brother Felton Mulli is an Member of Parliament and former deputy minister.
Leston Mulli’s unique and unorthodox way of obtaining a diplomatic passport is being technically referred to by the Immigration Department as “acquiring the diplomatic passport by association.”
The Malawi authorities have yet to clarify who must associate with to be deemed fit for a diplomatic passport.