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United States bars Mutharika’s top adviser

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

The United States (US) Government has banned President Peter Mutharika’s Special Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Uladi Mussa and his wife Cecilia from entering that country over allegations of corruption.

In a statement, the US says Mussa, who is also Democratic Progressive Party Central Region vice-president, engaged in corrupt activities while serving as Malawi’s Home Affairs minister.

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“The Secretary of State is publicly designating Mr Uladi Basikolo Mussa, the current Malawian Special Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs and former Malawian minister of Home Affairs, due to his involvement in significant corruption.

“Mr Mussa engaged in and benefitted from public corruption in relation to his official duties while minister of Home Affairs,” the statement reads.

According to the statement, the ban is in line with Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programmes Act of 2019.

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The section provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible to enter the US.

The law also requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their family members.

Mussa Wednesday described the ban as unfair, saying the matter was still in court.

“It is unfair. The US Government has constituted the ban based on a matter that is in court. According to the laws of Malawi, anyone is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law. I am not corrupt. I am still innocent. I believe in myself. I did a noble job as a minister. Even in American laws, anyone who has not been found guilty remains innocent, and I have no intention of going to America,” Mussa said.

Mussa and four others, including former Immigration Department chief citizenship officer David Kwanjana, are answering the charge of allegedly fraudulently issuing citizenships and passports to Burundians and Rwandans, among other foreign nationals.

Chancellor College political analyst, Ernest Thindwa, said the US Government’s decision was a telling signal from development partners of their frustration with Malawi’s leadership failure to crack down on corruption.

“Development partners clearly have lost patience in the Mutharika’s administration. Other development partners have moved services such as visa provision to other countries. This means that innocent and poor Malawians have to face the sharp edge of such diplomatic actions resulting from leadership failure to curb corruption and maladministration in general,” he said.

Thindwa said he would not be surprised if the restriction for US entry were extended to the President, First Lady and other members of the ruling politburo.

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