Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair is facing questions over his role as adviser to the president of Malawi Joyce Banda following corruption scandal that led to the British government freeze of aid to the country.
Blair, through his charity the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) has been working closely with President Banda since August last year.
An official working in Malawi’s finance ministry was shot in the face and seriously wounded amid claims by his family he was about to expose widespread state corruption. The assassination attempt and the web of corruption it simultaneously uncovered led to the arrests of several government officials, the sacking of the entire Malawian cabinet and the suspension of aid from the British government and other western donors to the country.
Millions of pounds are feared to have been stolen by officials. The UK, through the Department for International Development (DfID), was due to spend £92 million of aid in Malawi next year, making it the biggest international donor. It has now frozen £17 million aid payments with ‘immediate effect’.
Consequently, Tony Blair and his team are pulling out as official consultants to Malawi’s president. The AIG staffs have been working in the office of President Joyce Banda advising her on how to run the country. But at the end of January 2014, the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative will quit Malawi.
Conservative MPs and campaigners in Malawi are now demanding to know whether Blair and his team were aware of the corruption allegations as some officials arrested worked directly with AGI.
“This is potentially very embarrassing for Tony Blair. He needs to explain what his people were doing there,” said Richard Bacon, a Conservative MP and member of the public accounts committee.[More]