UTM’s Saonda, Three Others Arrested
By Staff Reporter
Malawian businessmen of Indian origin, Moshin Mussa of Phazi Industries Limited and Riaz Jakhura of Speedy’s Car Sales Limited are allegedly behind a dubious contract to supply various items to the Malawi Police Service (MPS), which has seen a consignment of various items worth over 4 billion Kwacha detained at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA), our source has revealed.
The source says Mussa and Jakhura have been trying to obtain contracts to supply various items to the Police Department for some time without much success. He said this time, the businessmen are said to have used a proxy business firm and individuals who are allegedly ‘connected’ to the ruling establishment to improve their chances of winning the contracts and ended up landing into trouble.
Police spokesperson, Peter Kalaya, confirmed the issue and the existence of this a ‘fake’ contract but could not confirm the connection to the businessmen of Indian origin, only saying “three people” had been arrested in connection to the issue, and that more people would be arrested.
“What i can say is that there are some Malawians who convinced a businesswoman to procure various items worth several billions of Malawi Kwachas allegedly to be supplied to the Malawi Police Service. The businesswoman realized that this contract was fake when she wanted to process duty free papers with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), but by this time the items had already been brought into the country through Air Cargo.
“As I am talking, the consignment is still stuck at Kamuzu International Airport and Chileka Airport, and we have arrested three people in connection to the issue. I cannot disclose the names of the suspects as at now because we are still carrying out investigations, and we expect to arrest more people,” said Kalaya in an interview from Lilongwe at the weekend.
However, a source close to the deal has revealed that the people who have been arrested include a senior UTM executive committee official George Saonda who is also UTM, Kenwood Kharika who works for the National Intelligence Services (NIS); Enoch Henderson, a member of MCP and State House media team. It is also alleged that two other unidentified individuals from the UTM media team have also been arrested.
However, according to the sources, the real McCoys behind the whole deal are Moshin Mussa of Phazi Industries Limited and Riaz Jakhura of Speedy’s Car Sales. Mussa is a well known handyman and inside dealer who often works behind the scenes to negotiate and seal deals for clients in the community of Indian businessmen. He often regards himself as ‘untouchable’, saying he has a ‘direct line’ to President Lazarus Chakwera.
“The arrested Malawians don’t have such kind of money to fly cargo worth over 4 billion Kwacha into the Malawi from Dubai and India. Jakhura provided the money while Moshin Mussa worked on the logistics to bring the cargo here. It is just that someone from within the Police Service raised the alarm, otherwise the deal would have gone through,” said the source, adding that the issue also involves individuals from the Police Headquarters procurement department.
He added that the issue is big and complicated because there are also alleged elements of money laundering by the same Asian businessmen.
“They wanted to externizle the US$2.1 million outside the country when the actual value of the imported items is less than US$1 million. These are security items, which are imported duty free,” said the source, adding that the consignment, which had 265 packages, was flown by air from Delhi, India under Air Waybill Number DEL221326743, on Fight Number ET0687 & ET0877 to Lilongwe via Addis Ababa. These items were invoiced under Lilypeck General Trading LLC; the invoice number is LG-2065, dated 21st December 2022,
and the contract sum is US$1,140,000.”
He said there is also another invoice worth US$965, 000.00, Ref: KU-Q-033-22 and dated August 21st, 2022 for the same questionable contract from a Hong Kong company, Kent Uniforms Limited. The items include Police badges (10,000), Tactical Security Vests (5,000), Trousers Male S & M Size (3,000), Trousers Male L Size (2,000), and Trousers Male XL Size (1,000).
He said on these items the Malawi Police Department was going to pay money in excess of MK4, 108, 267, 000.00 of taxpayers money, an amount which is also way above the prevailing market value.
On the documents that we have seen, the consignee for the items is a local company called Nanette Private Limited, P. O. Box 21341, Lilongwe. Malawi. This is the company that was purportedly contracted to supply the items to the Malawi Police Service under the ‘fake’ contract, whereas the consigner is Lilypeck General Trading LLC, The Opus, Business Day, P. O. Box 454549, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with the telephony +971 4 454 2778, TRN No. 100264375500003.
“Police Department prequalifies suppliers of items such as uniforms. In this case, there was collusion between these Malawian businessmen of Indian origin, Moshin Mussa and Riaz Jakhura to sneak in these items outside this framework, and to be facilitated by the arrested Malawians working through proxy businesses. The issue about a businesswoman being duped is, therefore, neither here nor there,” concluded the source.