Malawi’s Minister of Defense, Ken Kandodo, has described the recent controversial arms deal as one of the obligations of government in order to ensure the Malawi Defense Force has the capacity to protect the country’s sovereignty.
“I want to make it clear that all due processes were followed in the procurement of the defense equipment. The acquisition is part of an on-going process to equip and up scale the Malawi Defense Force to enable it undertake a variety of operations, including the protection of Malawi’s natural resources, border patrols, peace keeping missions and search and rescue operations.”, said Kandodo in a statement.
The statement from the minister came after civil society leaders and political parties demanded that the Anti-Corruption Bureaue investigate the secret deal which was exposed by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
The Daily Telegraph reported recently that Africa defense company Paramount Group was granted defense contracts by Malawi while the charity foundation of the company’s owner is paying for Joyce Banda’s PR deal with a UK based firm. The PR firm has been hired to repair Joyce Banda’s image in the face of the recent Cashgate scandal that has rocked her government.
Ichikowitz Family Foundation was founded by Eric Ichikowitz and Ivor Ichikowitz who are Executive Director, and Chairperson, respectively at Paramount Group.
Reacting to the revelations, human rights activist and lawyer Justin Dzonzi described the revelations of the arms company involvement as possible fraud.
He further called upon an investigation from the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) on the matter.
“We could be dealing with a very serious case of money laundering here whereby the Malawi government awards Ichikowitz Family Foundation’s companies as one way of siphoning money from the public coffers. I would think this is a proper case the Anti- Corruption Bureau or the Financial Intelligence Unit to investigate and be satisfied that there are no underhand dealings here,” said Dzonzi.
Dzonzi said there was also a need for government to justify to Malawians why it was necessary to hire the firm in the first place.
“The first question we should all ask ourselves as a people is; is it normal to buy arms from a company whose owners have a foundation which is sponsoring your media campaign? PR campaign is very expensive and there is no free lunch in this world; where are we going to? We need to find out how much money is being involved, how much has been given to the presidency for campaign,” DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi was quoted as saying.

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