Malawi and India have condemned a disgruntled Indian national Chandrashekar More for claiming to have held demonstrations at the Malawi High Commission in India.
The two countries’ reactions come after More—who was deported from Malawi in May 2017 following his arrest on alleged tax evasion charges—penned the Malawi High Commission in India threatening to lobby for sanctions against Malawi.
Malawi High Commissioner to India George Mkondiwa yesterday disputed claims by More that he held demonstrations at the mission in New Delhi over a matter involving himself and some of the associates he worked with while in Malawi.
In a letter dated June 17 2019 addressed to the Malawi Mission in India, More threatened that if he is not given back his investments he claimed were taken from him, he will launch an official counteraction.
But in an interview yesterday, Mkondiwa said: “As you know, he [More] is a prohibited person in Malawi. He was only allowed in the embassy because he wanted to collect cash for a Malawian patient he was keeping in Pune [a city in western India].
“When he came in the waiting room, he took some of these photographs. When he came up to get the cash, he had with him his entire family and his lawyer.”
The High Commissioner said it was at this time that More produced a dossier and handed it over to him and his deputy.
He said the embassy only allowed him to have a picture taken for future reference, while the other pictures were taken without their knowledge.
Among other threats in the letter, More said he will issue a detailed press statement in India and file a public interest litigation to stop the Indian Government from helping Malawi with loans and suspend trade, especially on legumes.
He states: “Filing a public interest litigation application to the India Supreme Court to stop all investments to Malawi being routed through Exim Bank, which is actually squandering of Indian taxpayers’ money. This will affect the economy in a very bad manner.
“Filing a public interest litigation application through the industries body in the Indian Supreme Court to stop lines of credit to Malawi. All credit lines are helping build Malawi in multiple ways and this will be directly affected.”
More also threatens to file a public interest litigation application to stop all imports of Nandolo (pigeon peas) from Malawi to India and continue with what he calls peaceful demonstration until “my entire investment is returned”.
On the threats of Indian Government terminating assistance to Malawi, Mkondiwa said it is misguided and without substance.
“The Indian Government had earlier evaluated the (More) case and concluded that it cannot intervene in a private business matter,” he said.
An official from the Indian High Commission in Lilongwe yesterday said no one is allowed to demonstrate at a mission of another country.
“No one is allowed to do that, it can’t happen. He also cannot make those threats because he does not have the power to influence any decision,” said the official who did not want to be named because he is not authorised to do so.
The Indian Government is yet to appoint another High Commissioner after the expiry of tour of duty of Shri Shuresh Kumar Menon.
In July 2017, More, who is said to have set up an edible oil extraction plant in the country, stirred a diplomatic spat between the two governments over the role the Indian High Commission played in seeking his police protection.
While the High Commission said it never assisted More to secure police protection, he had requested the embassy to get two armed Malawi police officers.
More was arrested in September 2015 on tax evasion charges and returned to India having secured permission from the court during the same month.
He returned to Malawi in March 2017 to allegedly resolve the outstanding tax issues with Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).