Former President Dr. Joyce Banda has come out of the cocoon to comment on the request by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to institute fresh probe on the sell the presidential jet in 2013.
The committee has written the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to inquire on events surrounding the transaction.
Speaking in an interview with one of the local daily papers Banda said the decision to sell was not a personal decision.
“The sale of the presidential jet was a Cabinet decision. Once the Cabinet approves the matter, it goes to the secretariat, Ministry of Finance, Solicitor General and no asset leaves our borders without the Attorney General sanctioning.
“I am surprised [that Treasury says it does not know anything] because at the time, there were a lot of press releases on the process [of the sale] in the media, including the print media,” Banda was quoted as saying.
The Bingu wa Mutharika administration purchased the presidential jet at an estimated cost of K16 billion ($22 million), which was later sold during Banda’s administration. It was indicated that part of the proceeds were used to purchase maize.
But later it transpired that the Attorney General facilitated the transfer of the funds from Bohnox Enterprises, which bought the jet, to Paramount Group, its parent company.
Government owed Paramount Group $19.2 million (about K8.2 billion) in respect of military equipment procured sometime back.