Malawian-born businessperson arrested in UK over corruption

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Malawian-born businessperson arrested in UK over corruption
Malawian-born businessperson arrested in UK over corruption

Africa-PressMalawi. Anti-corruption authorities in the United Kingdom last week arrested businessman Zuneth Sattar and raids were conducted in the UK and Malawi on several properties belonging to Sattar and his associates.

Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) reported that the arrests started on Tuesday morning, following a three-year-long investigation by Britain’s National Crimes Agency (NCA) into Sattar’s suspected corrupt dealings with Malawi government.

According to PIJ, investigation is on the businessman’s dealings with both the Peter Mutharika administration and the current Lazarus Chakwera administration. Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director Martha Chizuma told PIJ that the ACB is cooperating with its UK partners over the issue.

According to PIJ, the raids simultaneously started at 6 am Malawi time—5am London time and Sattar as well as his associates were arrested in Leicester following raids at his homes and offices.

In Lilongwe, ACB officials with support from NCA agents raided Sattar’s residence and offices—walking away with troves of documents, phones, computers, and other items containing possible evidence.

A local associate of Sattar —only identified by one source by his first name Ashock—was later arrested after ACB finished the raid. The raid in Lilongwe came after ACB had obtained a seizure and search warrant for the homes from Lilongwe Magistrates Court.

“The investigation stretches from majority of the Peter Mutharika administration and the first year of the Lazarus Chakwera government. First, it was phone calls recordings and now documents and gadgets collected from his house,” a source told PIJ.

In the UK, Sattar is listed as Director of Xaviar Limited and Xaviar Investments Limited whose interests include property investments both residential and commercial properties. Outside business, he is involved in charity particularly two prominent charities—Muslim Hands and the Lia Relief Trust

Sattar grew up in Malawi where he is a major supplier to the Malawi government: supplying to the military, police services, Immigration department, prisons services, and others—running a fleet of several companies trading under Ocean Ltd.

Two companies linked to Sattar, Top Prima and Rummage Pace, were implicated in the Cashgate scandal where they were suspected to have received K12 billion in payments for purported supplies to the Malawi Defense Force. An audit report showed that the items which the company supplied, arms and ammunition—were clearly overpriced. PIJ reported that several arrests are going to be made over the issue as investigations are continuing.

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