Malawi jet sale paid arms debts - minister

2014-03-06 07:40


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Blantyre - Malawi used $15m raised from the sale of its presidential jet to clear debts to an arms group, not to partly buy food for the poor as President Joyce Banda claimed, the finance minister admitted on Wednesday.

"Actually, no single kwacha came to Malawi," said Maxwell Mkwezalamba, confirming speculation that the central bank had not received the funds.

With her administration under a graft scandal cloud, Banda on Tuesday had declared: "It was me who said let's sell the jet and the cabinet agreed three things to benefit Malawi... to buy maize, buy military equipment such as patrol boats and pay for peacekeeping mission in the DRC," the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some of the "money was also used to buy medicine and fertiliser which was loaned to farmers", she told reporters.

But Mkwezalamba said the funds were used to pay Malawi's debts after the jet was sold to a subsidiary of South African arms firm Paramount Group, Africa's largest private defence firm, on 29 July last year.

"The Malawi government owed Paramount Group $19.2m in respect of military equipment and asked the buyer of the jet to channel the money to the group as debt repayment after seeking legal advice from the attorney general."

It was agreed that the subsidiary that bought the jet, Bohnox Enterprises Limited of the Virgin Islands, instead pay Paramount "part of the arrears" owed.

Biggest financial scandal

Funds were then re-allocated to the Malawi defence force to buy the maize, medical drugs and military equipment.

Fears had been raised that the jet sale proceeds may have been embezzled.

Banda's administration is under scrutiny after government was rocked by a $30m graft scandal - the biggest financial scandal in the country's history.

A damning audit last month revealed that corrupt officials had stolen at least that $30m from state coffers - the equivalent of more than one percent of GDP in one of the world's poorest countries.

The theft occurred over six months last year.

The jet had been bought by Banda's predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, who died from a heart attack in 2012.

When she took over office, Banda introduced a raft of cost-cutting measures and uses commercial airlines to travel outside the country.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    joyce banda  |  malawi  |  southern africa publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

No England contact for White
LIVE: Springboks 0-0 USA
Boks: Coenie ‘worst dresser’
Think Tank: Why are the minnows so much better?
Traffic Alerts

Relationships and significant connections may play an important role in your day today. Let the warmth of the Leo moon inspire more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.