Matemba,Kainja,two others banned from entering into US over their involvement in corruption

By Chisomo Phiri

The Government of United States of America through its US Department of State has banned four former top officials of the Malawi Government and their spouses from entering that country due to their ‘significant involvement in corruption’.

According to a statement on the US Embassy Facebook page, the four 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 , former Inspector General of Police George Kainja.

Reyneck Matemba

In the statement,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.

The travel ban also applies to the spouses of the four officials: Rhoda Violet Matemba Maxwell, Mariana Ismael Suzi-Banda, Bernadette Mwangosi, and Jacqueline de Silva Kainja.

Matemba and Suzi-Banda were arrested in August 2022 for allegedly receiving kickbacks from businessman Zuneth Sattar to supply 350,000 food ration packs worth US $7,875,000 (equivalent to 13 billion Malawi Kwacha) to the Malawi Police Service.

Investigations revealed that Matemba pocketed $10,000 as a benefit for overseeing the vetting process of the food rations contract.

Suzi-Banda received MK3,000,000 (approximately US $2,900) from Sattar’s agent, Zun Cheena, to influence him to award the Malawi Police Service contract to Sattar’s company without objection.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau(ACB) arrested Kainja and Kaluba in June 2022.

Kainja was detained for allegedly “receiving an advantage” from Mr. Sattar when he was granted a contract worth $875,000 to supply 350,000 food rations to the Malawi Police Service.

The investigations conducted by the bureau established that Dr. George Kainja solicited an advantage in the form of a vehicle and $8,000.

Kaluba is accused of corruptly obtaining $20,000 from a British businessman as an advantage for assisting in the procurement contract of the food ration packs.

John Suzi-Banda