Malawi government responds to USA travel ban against public officers

By Burnett Munthali

The Malawi Government has responded to the decision of the US Department of State on the travel ban against four former public officers with a call for respect for judicial independence.

“The government of Malawi wishes to reiterate its policy and position to respect the independence of the courts as the sole determinant of guilt or innocence of any person answering various charges in Malawi courts.” the statement reads in part.

On 17 April 2024, the United States of America barred four former high-ranking officials of the Malawi Government and their spouses from entering that country due to what it calls “their significant involvement in corruption”.

According to a statement on the US Embassy Facebook page, the individuals are former Solicitor General and Principal Secretary for Justice, Reyneck Matemba, former Director of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets, John Suzi-Banda, former lawyer of the Malawi Police Service Mwabi Kaluba and George Kainja, former Inspector General of Police.

The US Department of State accuses Matemba, Suzi-Banda, Kaluba, and Kainja of “misusing their public positions by accepting bribes and other favours from a private businessperson in exchange for awarding a government procurement contract for the Malawi Police Service”.

According to the Embassy, endemic corruption hampers Malawi’s economic growth and has since pledged collaboration with those committed to fight corruption and promote justice.