July 4, 2019 / 8:19 AM / 9 months ago

U.S bans entry to senior aide to Malawi leader over graft allegations

LILONGWE (Reuters) - Uladi Mussa, a senior aide to Malawi President Peter Mutharika, and his wife Cecilia have been banned from entry into the United States due to allegations of “significant corruption”, the U.S. Embassy said on Wednesday.

“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 for entry into the United States,” the embassy said in a statement.

It said Mussa had engaged in and benefited from public corruption in relation to his official duties while minister of home affairs from 2012-2014 when he served in former president Joyce Banda’s administration.

Mussa was arrested in March last year and charged with abuse of office by the southern African country’s anti-corruption bureau relating to the issuance of Malawian passports to foreigners during his term as minister.

Mussa has denied the charges. He told Reuters he was surprised by the U.S. decision as his case was still ongoing.

Mutharika vowed in May that he would not spare anyone found abusing their official positions, in an apparent response to allegations of corruption that marked his first term.

Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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