CSOs call for suspension of arms deal

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have asked the government to immediately suspend the military armored vehicles procurement deal with Zuneth Sattar, a United Kingdom-based businessman who is accused of bribing government officials. 

The fifteen CSOs made the call following revelations that the Malawi government made an initial payment of $4.9 million to International Armoured Group despite the deal previously canceled by the Attorney Thabo General Chakaka Nyirenda on January 11, 2022.

The other CSOs are Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Youth and Society (YAS), Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency, National Alliance Against Corruption, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Civil Society Strengthening, Civil Society Coalition and Accountability and Transparency, Human Rights Resource Centre, Nyika Institute, NGO Gender Coordination Network, Human Rights Consultative Committee, Citizen Alliance, Malawi Economic Justice Network and NGO Coalition on Child Rights.

“Government’s revival of the vehicles deal with Sattar despite the restriction from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) reveals a disregard of due process,” reads a statement signed by National Advocacy Platform chairperson Benedicto Kondowe.

It adds that the move by government raises serious concerns about its commitment to transparency, accountability and rule of law.

“Beyond legal violations, the deal perpetuates corruption, betrays public trust and jeorpadizes national security and the transfer of military assets under dubious means poses a serious threat to the nation’s stability,” reads the statement.

The CSOs say the move has implications on all ongoing court cases linked to Sattar saying it raises concerns about the fair and just adjudication of the cases and undermines judicial and legal process thereby eroding public trust in the country’s judicial system.

They have since called on the government investigate the matter and bring all perpetrators to book.

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