Malawi president auctions off jet to provide services for the poor

Banda plans to auction off the Dassault Falcon 900EX to the highest bidder and use the funds to provide basic services …When Malawi's late president, Bingu wa Mutharika purchased a luxurious 14-seat presidential jet for $13.3 million five years ago, the purchase was met with strong criticism. BBC News reports that angry donors even cut aid to Malawi by $4.4 million.

Mutharika's successor, President Joyce Banda, refuses to fly in the luxury plane. Instead, she plans to auction off the Dassault Falcon 900EX, still in "perfect flying condition," to the highest bidder — and use the funds to provide basic services for the country's poorest residents.

"The bids will be opened and offers read out in the presence of interested buyers or their representatives and any member of the general public on 20 February," the president's office said in a statement.

Malawi is one of Africa's poorest countries. In an effort to cut costs and improve relationships with western donors, the president and vice president recently took significant pay cuts and slashed their salaries by 30 per cent.