Cape Town – A jet sold by Malawian President Joyce Banda last year, attracting praise from key donors, is reportedly believed to have been bought by a controversial African arms group, and she is now using it for free.
According to The Telegraph, the Dassault Falcon 900EX was bought last year by Bohnox Enterprises, a firm registered in the British Virgin Islands, and sent to South Africa, where it is loaned to VIPs by the jet company Fortune Air.
Both companies are linked to Paramount Group, Africa’s largest private defence and aerospace firm, which has already signed deals with the Malawian government for agriculture, fuel and military contracts through a network of investment firms, the report said.
Reports claim that since the jet was sold, Banda continues to use it regularly to travel to events around the continent, without charge.
Banda’s spokesperson maintains “well-wishers” pay for the use of the jet.
Banda is currently dealing with a major scandal over corrupt procurement deals made by government departments, leading foreign donors, including Britain, to suspend direct aid that had accounted for 40% of the country's budget.
The European Union and Norway have also withdrawn their support for Malawi.
Banda has however been quoted in the past as saying she would not cry over the freezing of aid, although she understood the need for British politicians and taxpayers to have confidence in her government.