USA is a criminal heaven- Chakwera

…I nearly laughed when they announced the ban of 4

…blames Malawians for spreading negative issues

Humiliated by the recent ban of his administration officials, President Lazarus Chakwera said he nearly “laughed off” the United States Government’s decision to impose a travel ban on former senior procurement officials, describing the USA as a criminal haven.

USA is a criminal heaven – Chakwera

With the outburst, President Chakwera’s administration can now forget any further support, and he has joined previous Malawi leaders who, when pressed about corruption, waive the sovereignty card and pretend they are not corrupt.

The Investigator Magazine analysts indicate that the ban on the specific four and the President’s shocking reaction is telling that the USA decision was strategic and a pointer to where the evidence points in the cases of the four former procurement officials.

“The President is clearly shocked and humiliated. He used a lot of undiplomatic language to dismiss the ban. Everyone knows he is involved in the cases, it is now clear, the cases of the four could be the key to his involvement in the matter. The USA has ignited something Malawians don’t know. He seems angry with the ban, yet he happily announced the Vice President’s name and suspended him before any charges were brought and against the advice from ACB not to name any names,” said an analyst.

The President, who opened an agricultural investment fair in Lilongwe, spent half his 19-minute speech rebuking the USA for the ban, saying that Americans were being buoyed by Malawians spreading negative information about the country.

“When I heard of the ban of the four as the worst thieves, I nearly choked with laughter. The USA has the highest gun violence. High drug-related crimes. High rates of illegal immigration. Has the highest cases of racism against black people. USA Police kill black people and at least 10 million crimes are committed every year, something every 5 seconds there is a crime,” Chakwera told the audience using Chichewa vernacular.

The President, well known for shifting blame to others for his failed administration, said the Americans were taking a cue from negative Malawians who do not wish to spread good news.

Self-trumpeting his administration’s fight against corruption, the President presented half-truths, claiming Malawi is the only African country with an independent judiciary and anti-corruption agencies that his Government has given full support.

The President’s claims are disputable as his administration joined the Nigerian Government as being the only two African nations to arrest their Anti-Corruption Bureau Directors to stop investigations into corruption cases that implicate their own people and supporters.

Zambia recently arrested its Foreign Affairs Minister and tried him for bribery before being acquitted in courts. In Malawi, the courts are being delayed by technicalities, and anti-corruption fighters are being arrested or bulldozed.

The ACB under Chakwera has lost momentum, and the Police have arrested journalists and civic leaders who have been raising anti-corruption, especially related to the President and major party donors such as Zuneth Sattar and Abdul Karim Batatawala.

“I don’t know why the American government has jumped the ACB and Courts to conclude the matters,” charged Chakwera, who is well known for travelling to the USA every year. He is set to travel to the USA next month, which is now in doubt after the verbal exchange.

President Chakwera has publicly said the USA and UK threatened to sanction his administration after the arrest of Martha Chizuma, the outgoing ACB Director whose contract ends next month.

President Chakwera has publicly said the USA and UK threatened to sanction his administration after the arrest of Martha Chizuma

The US State Department said in a statement said it was imposing a travel ban to Former Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice Reyneck Matemba and his wife Rhoda Violet Matemba Maxwell, former Inspector General of Police George Kainja and his wife Jaqueline de Silva Kainja, for Director of Public Procurement John Suzi Banda and his wife Mariana Ismael Suzi Banda and former Malawi Police Service legal head Mwabi Kaluwa and his partner Bernadette Mwangosi.

The USA is one of Malawi’s major donors and the largest donor in terms of bilateral aid alongside the United Kingdom and the European Union.

“The United States stands with Malawians working towards a more just and prosperous nation by promoting accountability for corrupt officials, including advocating for transparency and accountability in government procurement processes” reads a statement posted on US mission website.

The statement continues, “These designations reaffirm the United States commitment to counter corruption, which stifles economic growth and development, hinders investment, and erodes trust in government.”

The designations are being seen as a slap on President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration which has been accused of derailing anti-corruption efforts after most of its senior party officials are embroiled in various corruption scandals. President Chakwera is set to travel to the USA next month for a summit.

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