Mutharika Allies face US Travel Ban Over Corruption

January 15, 2017 by Staff Reporter

The United States (US) government is imposing travel bans and other sanctions to close allies of  Malawi President Peter Mutharika as it is investigating illicit wealth accumulation and feared corruption at high echelons of power, it has been reported.

This follows the suffication of high profile corruption cases, including the K577 billion (revised to K236 billion) Cashgate where top officials in the Mutharika administration including seven servin ministers are implicated.peter-mutharika-queues-for-plane

Some of the targeted officials for the investigation include senior aides to Mutharika and they are already being denied visas for entry in the US, according to the source, while further sanctions are being considered.

President Mutharika and none of his ministers are understood to be under no investigation, so far, according to Weekend Nation reporting citing unnamed source.

“The Americans are serious and are alarmed by the wealth accumulation of some officials close to the President. They have started with the travel bans, but it is likely that further sanctions are being considered,” the source is quoted.

US Ambassador Virginia Palmer confirmed investigations are underway, but fell short of mentioning the branches of US federal government involved.

She further confirmed that travel bans will be used “where applicable”, but also declined to comment on reports that some officials have already been slapped with the ban.

“The US Government has the authority to impose visa sanctions on corrupt foreign officials, their families, and others who benefit from corruption.  While we would not comment on potential or ongoing investigations, we will use denial of entry sanctions where applicable,” said Palmer.

She added: “We welcome President Mutharika’s recent statements reiterating his commitment to root out corruption at all levels.  As always, implementation is key.   As US Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in May 2016: “Corruption is a poison that erodes trust, robs citizens of their money and their future, and stifles economic growth in the places that need it most.”

Last year, outgoing US Secretary of State [Kerry] during a London Anti-Corruption Summit warned that the US will take broader steps against corruption across the world.

The move by the US Government comes amid long standing investigations and inactivity over investigations into the wealth of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, and investigation and prosecution of the K577 billion Cashgate whose audit findings government has refused to make public.

Special Cashgate prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu, last week observed that there is now “no strategy and no coalition” on tackling the 2009-2014 K577 billion Cashgate case in comparison to the response to the April to September 2013 K24 billion Cashgate under Joyce Banda.

 

 

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