Malawi: PAC Pens OPC Over Controversial Sale of Presidential Jet

20 September 2021

Having hit a blank wall on its quest to get documents from the Ministry of Finance on the controversial sale of the presidential jet, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has now written the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) demanding answers on the matter.

PAC has launched an investigation into the sale of the aircraft, which was disposed off during the Joyce Banda's administration.

Banda sold the 14-passenger presidential aircraft to a Virgin Islands company, Bohnox Enterprise Limited, for US$15 million and the deal was finalized barely a month after JB [as she is fondly called by her followers] succeeded her predecessor, late President Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office in April, 2012.

The circumstances that led to the disposal of the jet remain suspicious to date.

It is against this background that on August 6 this year, PAC wrote the Treasury, requesting for documentation regarding the sale of the jet.

However, Nyasa Times understand that the Treasury failed to provide the documents as requested.

And this has prompted PAC to seek the intervention of OPC on the matter.

PAC chairperson Shadreck Namalomba confirmed having written OPC, asking the Highest Office to provide answers on the controversial sale of the aircraft.

Last year, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) indicated that its investigation into the matter had failed to yield the much-needed results.

To justify her controversial decision, Banda said she decided to sell the jet Mutharika bought for $22m due to the cost of running it.

She said the proceeds would go towards averting hunger and drug crisis in public health facilities.

The, then Ministry of Finance spokesperson, Nations Msowoya, said it was a collective government decision that the money realised from the sale of the jet would be used to purchase maize locally and some for legume production.

At the time, food experts had indicated that 10 percent of the country's then 13 million citizens faced food shortage.

However, questions have remained unanswered on how the two-year-old government of Amayi used proceeds from the sale of the aircraft.

Before joining forces for the June 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections, President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera vowed that his government would go after the people who squandered the money realized from the sale of the jet.

Some quarters believe Banda partnered with the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to escape justice in the matter.

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