Businessman Shafee Ahmed Chunara granted bail

By Nenenji Mlangeni

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost) – In a bizarre display of hypocrisy in its so-called campaign against corruption, Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera’s government has been caught   partnering with corruption-accused businessperson, Shafee Ahmed Chunara by using him to import millions of kwacha of cement to offset the shortage in the country.

Chakwera government reluctantly arrested Chunara on July 20, 2020 for being colluded with some officials in the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government who abused President Peter Mutharika’s TPIN to import MK5 billion cement into Malawi.

Since his release on bail a few days after the arrest, the state has not taken Chunara to case while his accomplice former President Mutharika’s board-guard Norman Chisale remains on remand and hospitalized.

Long before the case has become before the court, the new administration has quickly become friends-in-crime with Chunara, contracting him to import the commodity as a private trader but with the assistance of Reserve Bank.

With information available the Tonse leadership is expecting a huge cut from Chunara’s cement sales. Cement prices have risen from MK6,000 to MK10,000 per bag and many Malawians are crying over the oppressive prices.

Sources privy to the matter say Chunara paid for his freedom in hundreds of millions of kwachas so that he must do business with the Chakwera-Chilima government instead of being arrested.

The Chakwera government, through Finance Minister Felix Mlusu, on August 28, 2020 issued a directive to the Reserve Bank of Malawi to give Chunara and another Indian a sum of millions US$3 million to import cement.

That the Chakwera government has become bedfellow with corruption-accused is preceded by the new government’s conduct towards him.

Chunara fraudulently used former president Mutharika’s privilege to bring in millions of bags of cement. But instead of blocking Chunara’s bank accounts, the ACB blocked the accounts belonging to Mutharika who is only a victim in the saga.

What is further disturbing is that Chunara was also funding Chakwera’s campaign from the same money he was making from abusing Mutharika’s TPIN and that explains why Chakwera and Chunara quickly got into an understanding for the Asian not to be arrested or for his bank accounts not to be frozen.

Chunara is using the same accounts in the new deal to import the cement which has been scarce in the country.

In addition, while every official involved in the case appeared before court handcuffed, Chunara has been spared from justice.

We further wish to understand the position of the Anti- Corruption Bureau on Mr. Chunara who happens to be involved in a cement corruption saga.

Every Malawian is eager to know what has transpired on this person from the time he was arrested, appeared in Court, and given bail.

Consequently, Malawi civil rights body on Monday, September 14, 2020 petitioned Malawi Parliament to summon ACB boss Matemba to explain as to why his agency has been treating Chunara with glove hands.

“As Malawians we have not been told as to how far this matter has gone. We are afraid the Tonse government may also engage the same person in some dubious contractual agreements which may compromise the work of the ACB in their fight against corruption. Against this background, this submission is made.

“On another serious note, we would like to ask the ACB to tell Malawians how long they have gone in investigating the immediate past Former Head of State, His Excellency Professor Peter MUTHARIKA,” reads part of petition.

Adds the petition, “We are aware that the police conducted its investigations on the former Head of State and until now Malawians have not yet been furnished with any information. The Anti- Corruption Bureau went further in freezing all accounts of the former Head of State and no grounds for such action have been given. Could this be done on the basis of suffocating him politically?

“If not, what are the charges leveled against him so that it doesn’t seem to be a political persecution. We would also like to call upon the ACB to report to Malawians efforts taken on current Government’s perceived matters that demonstrate lack of transparency and accountability on”.

Our sources confided in that Chunara is well connected with one of Malawi Congress Party (MCP)’s top gurus for financial support during presidential elections.

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