The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) is now ready with a file to prosecute Vice President, Saulos Klaus Chilima, months after they established that he received $1 million from embattled businessman Zuneith Sattar, Malawi Gazette can reveal.
Chilima’s file had gone dry after ACB director Martha Chizuma seemed not interested to pursue the matter when Director of Investigations and Director of Legal Services had submitted his findings.
The silence cropped up speculations that Chizuma was deliberately protecting SKC with whom she is friends since college days.
Chilima’s name emerged in the Sattar probe when a phone transcript traced by British National Crimes Agency revealed that he pocketed about US$ 1 million (approximately K820 million) from Sattar who is currently answering money laundering charges in the United Kingdom.
Sattar has been at the centre of a graft war after he was arrested in the United Kingdom by the NCA for alleged corrupt dealings in Malawi and the UK. He is currently on bail.
According to the transcripts, Sattar’s companies were owed a total of US$64 million by Malawi Government at the time Tonse Alliance assumed power in June 2020. To expedite payment, he went knocking on people’s doors to facilitate the process and that is how he approached the Vice President asking him for help.
Between May and September last year Chilima was in contact with Sattar, a dialogue in which the Vice President promised to push for payment in exchange of $1 million as his token. Sattar quickly agreed to the arrangement.
The Vice President kept updating Sattar on the progress he was taking in pushing relevant government offices to initiate payment. In one instance SKC is quoted as saying he had approached the Secretary to the Treasury and Budget Director among other key personnel to materialize the deal.
The trail of the conversation went dry for some weeks only to reemerge with Sattar thanking the Vice President that he had received his $64 million payment. He went further to inform Chilima that his $1 million was ready and would advise who to contact to get it.
Sources at ACB say though many people benefitted from Sattar’s generosity, the SKC act smells corruption because it involves inducement by a public officer and solicitation of kickbacks.
Besides the friendship with Chizuma, others believe that Chilima was behind a leaked phone call that had the ACB director revealing sensitive information to an outsider. The outsider was later identified as one of Chilima’s close friends and handlers.