BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 14:57 GMT
Malawi sells ministers' Mercedes
Mercedes S class car
The Mercedes is a status symbol in Africa
Malawi is to sell its new fleet of top of the range ministerial Mercedes Benz limousines after widespread criticism of the purchase.

Malawi's Government said the money raised from the sale of the 39 S-class Mercedes vehicles worth about $2.5m would go towards tackling poverty.


We have to rationalise expenditure

Finance Minister Mathews Chikaonda
A statement sad the old fleet bought in 1995 was still in running condition.

About 60% of the country's 11 million people live below the poverty line.

"The government reversed its earlier decision to replace the present ministerial fleet to ensure that scarce resources were directed towards activities aimed at reducing poverty," the statement said.

Finance Minister Mathews Chikaonda said that they had to rationalise expenditure and "need to sell the Mercedes to get back all the money we took from the budget".

UK concern

The United Kingdom, already concerned over the possible misuse of British aid money, led criticism of the purchases.

Malawi's capital Lilongwe
Malawi is one of the leading recipients of UK aid
The British High Commissioner to Malawi, George Finlayson, reportedly told officials that the British Government would be severely "embarrassed" if it were proven that British balance of payments support had been used to buy the vehicles.

Malawi is the third largest recipient of British foreign aid.

There are also rumours of an imminent cabinet reshuffle.

President Bakili Muluzi told a news conference that he had received a report from the Anti-Corruption Bureau implicating ministers and top officials.

The head of state had previously said he would reshuffle his cabinet if there was proof any of his ministers had been involved in corruption.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

12 Oct 00 | Africa
Malawi graft: UK talks tough
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories