Malawians are asking Natural Resources and Climate Change Minister Eisenhower Mkaka to explain his Mercedes Benz following serious allegations that it was given to him by business leader Zuneth Sattar.
Mkaka in October 2020 announced on his Facebook page that he bought the used Mercedes Benz for the price of 45,000 GBP (over 45 million K).
Mkaka, who was first appointed Cabinet Minister on July 8, 2020, said he ordered the car on July 5, 2020 and a few days later wrote to the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) asking for the customs clearance granted by the authority.
“I have several sources of income that allowed me to afford this car. At that time, I had been working as an MP for a year. Second, in June of this year, I announced that my former employers, First Merchant Bank, had compensated me after winning a lawsuit against them. I even announced it here on my Facebook page in June this year when I received the first installment of the compensation. Third, through my wife, I have been in the agricultural products business for years. All this allowed me to buy the car,” Mkaka said in October 2020.
He also posted a letter that Parliament wrote to MRA requesting customs clearance released on behalf of Mkaka.
In recent months, there have been revelations that UK-based businessman Zuneth Sattar has bribed several Malawian officials, including politicians and civil servants. It is alleged that by offering bribes in the form of vehicle cash to 53 public officials, Sattar secured 16 contracts worth over K150 billion through which he defrauded Malawians by inflating prices.
A report by Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) says the UK’s National Crime Agency, after raiding Sattar’s house, found a document listing the vehicles Sattar had shipped to Malawi.
One of the items on the list, according to the PIJ, reads: “June 26, 2020 – two Mercedes 5350d L AMG with registrations KT17OAO and FY65LZE at Walvis Bay, [Namibia]. Value of vehicles £22,350 and £22,550.
The vehicle’s bill of lading, issued to acknowledge receipt of the cargo to be shipped, indicates that the vehicle was shipped from Southampton in the UK to Walvis Bay in Namibia.
It also shows that the addressee was Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka of PO Box 1230, Lilongwe in Malawi. The document bears the vehicle registration as KT17OAO, the same as one of the Mercedes Benzes on the Sattar list.
The chassis number WDD2221322A338705 on the bill of lading is also the same as on the MRA document that Mkaka shared in 2020.
A tax-free entry certificate signed by Mkaka and dated August 21, 2020 shows that the Minister received a Mercedes 5350 with chassis number WDD2221322A338705.
Malawians have since demanded an explanation from Mkaka.
“If he bought this car with his own money. A bank transaction will be appreciated. If it was a free gift from Zuneth Sattar, it should explain the context. I do not claim. I only ask based on information in front of my flat nose,” activist Joshua Chisa Mbele said on his page.
Commentators agreed, saying Mkaka should provide evidence of how he purchased the vehicle amid revelations sent to him by Sattar.
Follow us on twitter: