Mutharika fly in private chartered jet to US: ‘I will woo investors to come to Malawi’

President Peter Mutharika on his maiden foreign trip on Friday has been on the wing of a private jet which government could not come clear on whether Malawian taxpayers are paying for the jet or is from “well-wishers.”

Mutharika left the country Friday on private jet to South Africa to board commercial flight enroute London-Heathrow to attend the first ever US-Africa Leaders’ Summit to run  from 4 to 6 August 2014, in Washington DC.

The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) were coy to comment on the jet and referred Nyasa Times to State House where Press Secretary could not immediately comment.

Mutharika:  Leaves for US-Africa summit
Mutharika: Leaves for US-Africa summit

The country’s presidential jet was sold by former President Joyce Banda

The jet was bought during administration of late former president Bingu wa Mutharika but the move attracted widespread criticism from the donor community and other quarters of the society,

His successor later sold the plane to Virgin Islands-registered firm Bohnox Enterprise Ltd for around US$15 million but the use of the proceeds has remained a mystery, with Banda initially saying the funds were used to purchase grain.

Other officials said the jet was battered in an arms deal and that the cash-strapped Malawian government never realized any financial proceeds from the sale. The deal is being probed.

Speaking before departure , Mutharika said  he was going to attend “ an important meeting” which has drawn together leaders and business people.

“I will do my best to ensure that Malawi’s position on issues of food security, trade and youth is known, and I will also do my best to woo investors to come to Malawi,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika will be a featured panelist at the first official event of the Summit in Washington, D.C. – the Civil Society Forum Consultation on Open Government.

The panel will be moderated by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. One of the issues will be a discussion of Malawi’s membership in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and efforts underway by civil society groups and the Government of Malawi to prepare Malawi’s National Action Plan.

The Summit will focus on three sub-themes: Investing in Africa’s Future; Peace, and Regional Security; Governing for the Next Generation (Capacity Development).

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