…As Corruption Mars Joyce Banda's Regime…
Senior cabinet ministers in the Administration of Joyce Banda are alleged to have hired thugs to ‘silence’ a whistleblower, this blogger can reveal.
According to highly trusted sources, Rebecca Chimjeka, a blogger and well known reporter in Malawi, is living in fear and is emotionally disturbed after receiving an “anonymous” call from one of the senior ministers implicated in corruption scandals.
However, the call’s anonymity was revealed as Chimjeka was not the intended recipient.
The alleged Minister, by mistake, dialed Rebecca Chimjeka’s phone number, thinking she was an alleged assailant who the Minister had hired to “silence” Chimjeka for being critical of the government.
|Rebecca Chimjeka: Emotionally disturbed|
“Mwamumenya, mtsikana uja (Have you dealt with [Rebecca Chimjeka])?” queried the said minister in the phone conversation.
According to Chimjeka, this prompted her to pretend to be the alleged mugger and responded with a “no” to the question; something which enraged the Minister.
“Ndiye kuti zikukusangalatsani zomwe akulemba eti (That means you are pleased with her blogs)?” The minister sarcastically probed.
Not known to the Minister, Rebecca was recording the conversation having received three anonymous calls threatening her security for her investigations which implicated the President, Joyce Banda and her vice president Khumbo Kachali in corrupt practices.
According to her investigations, Joyce Banda, the vice President Khumbo Khachali, and other senior government officials such as Ralph Kasambara and Sidik Mia, among other officials, flouted the Malawi constitution and illegally "offered themselves" contracts to supply subsidized fertilizer.
Consequently, Rebecca established that out of the 27 companies contracted to supply the donor supported fertilizer to uplift the wellbeing of Malawians who are currently living in chronic poverty, 14 companies are owned by members of the executive branch of the government.
|Sheer Coincidence? Above and Below: the list of names thought to be associated with senior Peoples Party members|
Other senior party sympathizers and prospective Peoples Party financiers own other 7 companies on the list.
The suppliers include the following companies: JB Investments, KK Properties, Astor Chemicals (owned by one Abdul Gaffer Mohamed Sidik Mia), Boss Distributors.
This blogger does not intend to imply that these companies are owned by anyone in the current regime.
However, it is an open secret that Joyce Banda and Khumbo Kachali are commonly known by their acronyms:- JB for Joyce Banda and KK for the vice President Khumbo Kachali.
Likewise, Sidik Mia is the Minister of Transport and Public Works something which may be intriguing as Astor Chemicals is owned by someone called Abdul Gaffer Mohamed Sidik Mia.
It is even fascinating to note that Malawi’s Attorney General and Justice Minister, Ralph Kasambara, owns a company called Boss Car Hire as earlier until today stated on his Facebook profile.
According to the list, a company called Boss Distributors has also been awarded the tender to distribute the “subsidy”.
Of course, this blogger does not remove the possibility of this being a sheer coincidence.
The Director of Information, Isaac Cheke Ziba, when contacted to clarify on this "coincidence", directed this reporter to a publicity in the Ministry of Agriculture, Sarah Tione, whose phone numbers were all out of reach.
However, as I was going to press, Kasambara had edited his Facebook profile and removed his proprietorship to Boss Car Hire. As I said, it could be sheer coincidence.
Assuming that these companies are owned by the alleged owners, it should however be stressed here that it is not known if the owners had declared their business interests to the Speaker of Parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda, as the Constitution of Malawi demands.
|Ralph Kasambara (second person from left)|
Fervidly, the constitution asserts in Section 88: “the President and members of the Cabinet shall…within three months from the date of election or appointment, as the case may be, fully disclose all of their assets, liabilities and business interests, and those of their spouses, held by them or on their behalf as at that date; and, unless Parliament otherwise prescribes by an Act of Parliament, such disclosure shall be made in a written document delivered to the Speaker of the National Assembly who shall immediately upon receipt deposit the document with such public office as may be specified in the Standing Orders of Parliament”.
The Constitution adds: “The President and members of the Cabinet shall not use their respective offices for personal gain or place themselves in a situation where their material interests conflict with the responsibilities and duties of their offices”.
But Kasambara later revealed to Chimjeka that his Boss Car Hire is not related to Boss Distributors (which was found to be owned by a Malawian Indian).
We should also not remove the possibility of having different ministers rushing to the registrar of companies to “cover up” their ownership of companies listed on this year’s fertilizer suppliers especially after the whistleblower had published the anomalies implicating the President and some members of the cabinet. With “orders from above”, this has the highest probability.
This story brings back memories of 20 people killed during the July 20 demonstrations for standing up against nepotism and corrupt practices which marred the administration of Bingu wa Mutharika which saw Mulli Brothers getting a lion’s share in all government contracts.
Another fascinating thing is that before the call was made, Rebecca Chimjeka had retracted the part in her investigative epistle which linked Ralph Kasambara to Boss Distributors. After the call was made, the ‘retraction’ was also ‘retracted’.
Ironic, isn’t it?
According to her blog, the whistleblower alleges that the cabinet minister phoned her at exactly 14:39 (12:39hrs GMT) on the 11th of this month.
In the article, she alleges that the Minister also served in the same portfolio during Bingu wa Mutharika’s first term.
Through basic sum of deduction, this leaves Ralph Kasambara on the spotlight.
Kasambara served as AG during Mutharika’s first term before falling out of favor of the then president.
He is currently serving in the same portfolio.
It is not the first time that government agents have used machineries at their disposal and their authority to silence activists and whistleblowers.
Recently, Justice Mponda was arrested allegedly for stories which also implicated President Joyce Banda who had freed rapist Agala Festone Kuiwenga, just a month after the High Court had extended his 8 year sentence by one more year due to the gravity of the offence he committed.
She also pardoned George Allan Nyambi, a relation of Senior Chief Nyambi of Machinga. Nyambi was convicted for murder.
In the meantime, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) have said that they are saddened by efforts employed by the Malawi Government and its agents to silence the Media.
MISA argued that the Malawi Government is using “out-moded pieces of legislation enacted during the colonial era to suppress dissent views and promote colonial superiority”, adding that such laws “are archaic and retrogressive [with] no role to play in a democracy”.
So far, activists are ganging up against the current government of Joyce Banda for undermining various sections of the country’s constitution.
|some of the people who Ralph Kasambara is alleged to have |
kidnapped and assaulted earlier this year
Ralph Kasambara, who doubles as the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, was arrested this year allegedly for kidnapping people before subjecting them to mental torture and other forms of physical brutality.
Efforts to talk to Kasamabara proved futile as his phone number was not being answered.
This blogger will keep on attempting to hear Kasambara's side of the story on the matter.