The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba has said that the bureau will investigate suspicious payment by State House for its four foreign guests allegedly for inflating figures for business at Crossroads Hotel at its Lilongwe unit.
Crossroads Hotel earlier issued a statement dismissing an earlier Nyasa Times report, saying the hotel has had no dealings with State House in connection with Kiza Aziz Elias–who is posing as an agent hosting three “Israeli security agents” at Crossroads Hotel at the expense of the tax payer.
The statement claimed Nyasa Times had published “malicious allegations”, saying the hotel did not receive any Local Purchasing Order from State House nor has it received any payment.
Presidential press secretary Brian Banda said State House could not make a comment on the matter, saying this would be “dignifying fake news.”
He said: “Crossroads Hotel, as the owner of the invoices in question, has issued a press release stating that the story in question is false. As such, State House has no further comment to make on this matter, because dignifying fake news with a response does not serve the interest of Malawians.”
But one of Crossroads Hotel director Sameer Scaraine said they withdrew the statement dismissing Nyasa Times as false story because after checking with their records, they had discovered that was an iota of truth because a cheque worth K12.5 million was paid directly from a State House account.
He confirmed that Kiza Aziz Elias–whom the information Nyasa Times has gathered also described as Miguel Elias – has been lodging at Crossroads Hotel with the said “Israelis” from the 5th of July 2020 and indeed paid K12.5 million cheque from State House.
But Sacraine said K12.5 million is the only known payment from State House, saying the other bills has been footed by Miguel.
Miguel – trading as Chitundu Distributers – confirmed he was doing some work for State House, hence his payment for his stay at the hotel in a hotel room of $350 a night.
According to Sacraine, the State House cheque was paid by Miguel.
“K12.5 million was only cheque from State House because Miguel has been paying cash all these days,” he said.
He said the State House guests were initially accommodated in suites that cost $350 per night but were offered $300 as a reduction – about K225 000 per night.
Sacraine said after lodging in the suites for about eight days, they asked to be moved to other rooms which costs $90 per night “and they were in these rooms for about a month.”
He said Miguel was still a guest at Crossroads Hotel and has since moved out of $300 room to a cheaper one.
Following detailed information from Scaraine, the matter is not “fake news” as alluded by State House and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has since asked ACB to probe the matter.
Matemba said the matter will be followed thoroughly.
But Crossroads Hotel said it does not “condone corruption and theft of public funds” as such it says it cannot be used as “a conduit to defraud the government.”
Recently, Member of Parliament for Mzimba North Yeremiya Chihana (Alliance for Democracy-Aford) made allegations that some officials in the President Lazarus Chakwera administration were corrupt, receiving money from some Malawian businesspersons of Asian descent.
He was stampeded by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislators to sweep the matter under the carpert.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :