A fuel supply company, whose representatives met Minister of Foreign Affairs Eisenhower Mkaka and State House Chief of Staff Prince Kapondamgaga at Kamuzu palace in Kapondagaga’s office (insert) has threatened to spill the beans on President Chakwera’s corrupt deals. The company officials also had an audience with President Lazarus Chakwera.
ZR Energy company officials met the President and the two public officials to seek favors for fuel supply contracts in Malawi. Despite paying advance kickbacks and outpouring lavish gifts to the Malawi officials, the company missed out on the contracts. The gifts included a specially designed and manufactured watch complete with the Malawi court of arms.
Chakwera and his officials opted for companies that are reported to be offering bribes in excess of 50 million dollars. The deal is being closed guarded by Secretary to the President and Cabinet who is also Board Chairman of National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA), Zangazanga Chikhosi and NOCMA’s Deputy CEO Hellen Buluma.
According to Lebanese public records, ZR Energy, registered in Dubai, is owned by Lebanese businessmen Teddy and Raymond Rahme, who founded the ZR Group in 2005 and are stakeholders in several Lebanese banks. It is mainly an energy trading company with focus on fuel supply.
Records show that the company was involved in a scandal over the import of sub-standard quality fuel into Lebanon. Tests of one batch of fuel supplies by the company showed it could contain “chemical waste.” This is clearly a dubious company.
So why did President Chakwera, Minister of Foreign Affairs and State House Chief of Staff meet a company that was planning to bid for a fuel supply contract? The answer is simple, corruption. The whole meeting was also unethical and doesn’t help the image of the government. A fuel supply contract bidder has no business meeting the President, Minister of Foreign affairs and Chief of Staff. There is no justification whatsoever.
Even worse was the act of receiving gifts (bribes) from such a company. There is no free lunch in this world. That was a pure act of corruption aimed at influencing the officials to help the company get the NOCMA fuel supply contracts. That is why the company is now bitter after learning that it missed out on the contracts.
It’s only in Malawi where public officials can get away with such blatant exhibition of gifts (bribes) received from dubious businessmen. In many other countries that follow the rule of law and uphold moral standards, government employees are strictly prohibited from receiving gifts or entertainment from companies or individuals who want favors for award of contracts. Any revelations of such acts are met with demands to resign immediately.
In Malawi, it is also illegal but as usual, laws do not apply on the ruling elite. The president and his members of the inner circle can’t be investigated even in the presence of hard evidence of wrongdoing.
President Chakwera is involved in subtle acts of corruption but he is using public stunts of being seen to be fighting against corruption. The new Director General of Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has a huge responsibility of making sure that even the President should not get away with corruption.