Renowned international businessperson Zuneth Sattar has, for the first time, come out in the open to respond to alleged corruption investigations in connection to his business dealings with Malawi government.
Visibly calm, confident and unshaken, Sattar—speaking to British media on Tuesday—underlined that his conscious is as clean as it has always been, emphasizing that, as a law-abiding citizen and as an international businessperson of good standing, he has welcomed the British National Crime Agency (NCA) investigations on him and he will corporate.
Though admitting that he is cooperating with NCA’s investigations, the soft-speaking Sattar, however, wasn’t afraid to disclose that at the heart of the matter is a ‘well-calculated and damning move by certain business competitors, using certain social media influencers, to entirely dirten his image as he is a major supplier to Malawi government.’
“Each and every day, there is something misleading, manipulative and pure lies written about me on social media by same individuals. So many things about me being shared, things I have no knowledge about. Sometimes I look at myself and ask: Is this person they are attacking really me?” The public has poisoned so much with lies about me but I am not shaken because I know I am innocent and time will prove me right,” he said.
For instance, Sattar noted that there is so much written against him which he hardly have a single knowledge about.
“I hear that I stole from Malawi government. But no one has come with substantiated evidence to clearly show how I stole from Malawi government,” he noted.
Further, Sattar emphasized that he is an international businessman of good standing and clearly revealed that he win contracts both in the public and private sectors by offering the most competitive price in my bids.
“Look here, I do not sit in the boardrooms where decisions are made,” he said.
Sattar even painted a vivid picture of his business dealing with Malawi since early 90s during the leadership of President Bakili Muluzi.
“In the case of my business dealings with some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the Malawi Government, I, like most suppliers, get invited to submit bids and quotations for goods.
Each of these MDAs has Internal Procurement Committees (IPCs), which evaluate bids and make recommendations. Now, if this committee finds that my bid is successful, how is that my problem?” wondered the youthful Sattar.
He further explained, in trying to show how procurement process works in Malawi, that once the Procuring Entity (PE) has arrived at the preferred bidder, the Controlling Officer in that MDA writes the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) to ascertain whether procurement laws and regulations were followed.
After that, Sattar continued, the Government Contracting Unit reviews the contracts to see if there is value for money for the taxpayer and whether the language in those contracts does not put Malawians in a difficult situation.
“Then there is the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) itself, which investigates if at all there, was corruption in the procurement process and vets the contracts,” he said.
Against such a stringent procurement process, at what point, wondered Sattar, do I steal from Malawians?
“My only crime is that, as an experienced business person, I have a 100 percent track record of delivering services that meets the needs of customers. That’s the only crime,” he noted.
Sattar—known for his cheerful heart and supporting the disadvantaged people—noted that to show that whatever is posted is just meant to destroy him, people posting do not talk about the people who approves his bids, but just him.
“Why are people who approved my business bids not being attacked and posted about every day? The reason is simple: There is nothing wrong in what they did. The focus is on me, not because I have done anything wrong, but because they just want to destroy my name,” he said.
Their plan, added Sattar, is to keep churning out negatives about me every day on social media to try me in the court of public opinion through mercenary social media influencers to make their fake evidence stick and in the process try and influence possible court outcomes because they know they cannot win based on legal arguments.
To underscore the point, Sattar pointed that, as part of the propaganda to keep my name in the dirt, even the head of the ACB in Malawi, Ms. Martha Chizuma, in her own words recorded in a conversation, said as much when she said she needs help to mobilise Malawians in some sort of mob justice to in order to make a tramped up case against my associate.
“Where is justice?” he wondered.
Surprisingly, British NCA did not receive any formal complaints from Malawi government on the businessman dealings with the state but on mere speculation.
The NCA even by-passed prosecuting agencies on matter when they invaded Malawi in October 2021.
The British NCA is only using ACB while dodging agencies including Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Attorney General (AG), Immigration department, police, National Intelligence Bureau (NIB).
In addition to that, in December 2015, ACB cleared Sattar’s connected companies from involvement in the 2013 Cashgate scandal.