Minister of Information and Digitisation Moses Kunkuyu has justified the government’s decision to initiate a $19 million (about K32.3 billion) payment for a terminated contract of United Kingdom-based businessperson Zuneth Sattar.
Addressing the media in Lilongwe yesterday, he said despite the termination of contracts related to Sattar’s companies in January 2022, government was still under legal obligation to pay for goods already supplied and manufactured in line with Section 46 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) Act.
Kunkuyu, who was accompanied by Minister of Defence Harry Mkandawire and Malawi Defence Force (MDF) eputy chief of legal services Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Mittawa, said government, through the Auditor General, instituted an audit and other investigations which established that some goods were already delivered while others had already been produced hence the payment.
He said at the time of termination, several contracts with companies affiliated to Sattar, including the contract with Malachite FZE for the supply of 32 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) signed on May 24 2021.
Kunkuyu (L) with Mkandawire at the briefing
Said Kunkuyu: “Government wrote Malachite FZE on the 11th of January 2022, informing them that the contract for the supply of APCs had been terminated.
“Malachite FZE was advised that the company will be paid for only the value of equipment supplied, or specifically made, or which are being specifically manufactured under the procurement contract and not for lost profits.”
Commenting on reports that journalist Gregory Gondwe, who published a story detailing the transactions, is in hiding as he was being pursued by the MDF, the minister described the assertions as misinformation and sensationalism.
Taking his turn, Mkandawire claimed that before the journalist flew out of the country through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe, the government machinery were alerted if indeed he was a wanted person and was cleared and allowed to proceed.
But in an interview yesterday, Gondwe wondered why MDF intelligence officers were tracking his movements if there were no intentions to arrest him.
He also described as complete falsehood claims by the two ministers that he left Malawi through KIA.