US Bars Four Former Malawi Officials Over Corruption, State Department Says

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The United States has barred four former officials of the Malawi government from entry because of their involvement in significant corruption, the State Department said on Wednesday.

The officials designated are former solicitor general and secretary of justice Reyneck Matemba, former director of public procurement and disposal of assets John Suzi-Banda, former Malawi Police Service attorney Mwabi Kaluba, and former Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service George Kainja, the department said.

The four officials were cited by the State Department as having “abused their public positions by accepting bribes and other articles of value” from a private business person in exchange for a government police contract.

“The United States stands with Malawians working towards a more just and prosperous nation by promoting accountability for corrupt officials, including advocating for transparency and integrity in government procurement processes,” department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Two of the barred individuals, Matemba and Suzi-Banda, expressed surprise when contacted by Reuters.

“I am still in Malawi and have never travelled outside the country since 2021. I am on bail, therefore I can’t travel because my passport is technically with the police,” Matemba said.

Suzi-Banda said in a text message that he was not aware of the development.
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has waged a crackdown on corruption in recent years.

In January 2022, he dissolved the country’s entire Cabinet on charges of corruption against three serving ministers.

Later that year, Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested and charged the country’s vice president, Saulos Klaus Chilima, over graft allegations.

The group has been investigating public officers in Malawi over the alleged plundering of state resources by influencing the awarding of contracts through the country’s public procurement system.
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries, with nearly three-quarters of the population living on less than $2 a day. Though small in size, it features in the top 10 in Africa in terms of population density.