Billy Mayaya reports investor to Anti-Corruption Bureau
Human Rights Defenders Coalition member Billy Mayaya has reported Indian investor Chandra Shekhar More to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly offering a K60 million bribe to convince Homeland Security Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda to allow him to return to Malawi.
In a letter to ACB, dated December 23 2020, Mayaya asks the bureau to investigate More on the allegation of attempted bribe, further providing a WhatsApp voice note as evidence.
Apparently, More—who was deported in May 2017 on allegations of K20 million tax evasion, money laundering and having no valid work permit—wants to come back to Malawi, claiming that he wants to continue with his investments.
In an interview with The Daily Times, Mayaya confirmed—both writing the letter to ACB and also the case of attempted bribery—explaining that the minister was not part of the conversation.
In the leaked voice note, More—talking to Mayaya—is heard offering the human rights defender K60 million, further suggesting that the money be split into two chunks— with Mayaya getting K30 million and Chimwendo Banda carting home the remainder.
“I received a WhatsApp message from Chandra Shekhar More requesting me to assist him by calling the Minister of Homeland Security Honourable Richard Chimwendo Banda, who is in charge of immigration [issues], to issue an order to reverse More’s prohibited immigration status. From the message, I suspected foul play and had alarm bells ringing. Therefore, I, on my own accord, decided to record any further conversations I had with him.
“In the next conversation, he called me, where I then pretended to be with the minister although I was on my own. He was brazen enough to offer a payment of K60 million for his reversal of prohibitive immigration status,” reads Mayaya’s letter to the ACB.
Meanwhile, ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba has said the bureau received the letter Wednesday.
“I can confirm that the letter that you have mentioned has been delivered at the ACB. A copy of the said letter has also been sent to me electronically by the complainant himself.
“Just like we do with all other complaints or allegations that we receive at the ACB, we will look into this matter and investigate it,” he said.
Chimwendo Banda, in an interview, said he was impressed by Mayaya’s action to report the bribe offer to ACB, saying Malawians should emulate the spirit of Mayaya to report any bribe attempts.
“I have never talked to More or Mayaya about this issue. My position on this matter is that, if Mr More wanted to come back into the country, he should go to court to contest his deportation, which was made by the previous minister.
“I have never been in touch with this man, he has never asked me for any favour. What I heard is that he wants to come to Malawi to pursue his matter and I am saying, if that were the case, he should go to court,” he said.
However, when told Wednesday that Mayaya had reported him to ACB, More could only say: “Wow great”.
Asked to elaborate on what he meant by “wow great”, the Indian investor did not respond further.
This week, More told The Daily Times that he had investments, which he wanted to continue running in the country.
More has in the past stated that he had done nothing wrong in the country, despite also being accused of uttering racial slurs to police officers and a magistrate, being suspected of evading taxes amounting to K20 million, money laundering and having no valid work permit