Malawi auctions off controversial presidential jet for $15 mln

President Banda ordered the sell of the jet immediately she took office in April last yr
President Banda ordered the sell of the jet immediately she took office in April last yr
The controversial Presidential jet bought by late Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has finally been auctioned off to Bohnox Enterprise Ltd– a Virgin Islands company for $15 million, after new President Joyce Banda ordered to dispose of it as the government implements an austerity budget.
Chintu Phiri, Principal Secretary in the office of the President and Cabinet, said that Bohnox Enterprise Ltd beat three other bidders for the 14-passenger aircraft.
“We have accepted their offer and we are waiting to hear from them,” Phiri said.
The 15-year-old Dassault Falcon 900-EX had been described as being in “perfect flying condition”.
The government initially set the price at $20 million.
Mutharika controversially acquired the jet for $22 million in 2009 and justified that it was cheaper to use it than flying commercial. He also went public to say that the jet was ideal for him because at that time he was African Union chairman.
Maintainance and insurance for the aircraft reportedly cost the state $300,000 a year.
The southern African nation relies on donor funding to finance its development budget, with half of its 15 million citizens living below the poverty line.
Britain, which is Malawi’s main bilateral donor, criticised the purchase of the jet and reduced its aid budget by three million pounds ($4.4 million, 3.6 million euros).
Since taking office, Banda has introduced a host of cost-cutting measures and uses commercial airlines to travel outside the country. This has, however, not made her any popular as prepares for elections next May.