ACB says Chaponda not off the hook:  ‘Tremendous progress‘ in corruption investigations

Graft busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), has come out rejecting accusations that it is shielding George Thapatula Chaponda—the erstwhile Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Leader of the House—three months after two state sponsored public inquiries recommended the vice president of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) be investigated.

Reyneck Matemba ACB deputy director: Thereis tremendous progress in the investigations

Chaponda: Facing corruption rap

Reyneck Matemba, the deputy director of the ACB said the bureau is still making forensic investigation of suitcases stashed with cash – US$58,000 and MK124 million seized at his house during the raid in February this year.

ACB raided Chaponda’s residence following a recommendation by the commission of inquiry into Malawi’s maize imports from Zambia that he should be investigated.

“You should understand that we are doing a a good job. We are still analysing how he got the money, we are analysing the electronic gadgets. We confiscated phones, ipads. Some of them had pass words, this delayed our investigations,” he said.

Matemba said the ACB also confiscated similar items from suspects in the ongoing Zambia maize corruption saga.

The ACB second in command said his organisation is coming up with good charges for Chaponda.

“We are looking at analysis of forensic investigations. Forensic investigators took four days to crackdown on mobile phones  [belonging to Chaponda]. There  is progress, we need to come up with a very good case and good analysis and that is what we are doing now,” he said .

“If we are to charge Dr Chaponda with existig currency exchange laws on the money we found in his house, then he could get away with very lenient sentence and the people would blame us for this. People should be patient. We cannot start prosecute him in piece meal. We cannot start isolating cases,” he said.

Matemba could however not say how soon the investigations would take. Asked recently on Capital Radio’s Straight Talk program when ACB will summon Chaponda for questioning.

“At the bureau we do not just summon an accused person for questioning when we do not have basis. Being found with money in your house is not a criminal offence on its own,” said Matemba who is also ACB prosecutor.

“We want to establish where  the money we found from Chapondacame from. We will do our investigations. If we call Chaponda to the bureau before we conclude our investigations, people will think we are disorganised,” he said.

Matemba continued: “ We would rather finalise the investigations and invite him for questioning.”

He said the bureau is workly closely with  Reserve Bank of Malawi on the cash which was seized from Chaponda’s residence.

“We have made tremendous progress [and] we will be inviting  him to be questiond. We are not shielding Chaponda,” he said, adding “one aspect of investigation can lead tp another. We are about to conclude investigations.”

But law experts say Chaponda  has been affored enough time and space to build his story, saying investigations could have gone ahead having interviewed him under caution which is not a presumption of guilt.

Malawian legal commentator based at South Africa’s University of Cape Town, Professor Danwood Chirwa  argued:“This particular individual  [Chaponda] has committed or is alleged to have committed a litany of legal infringements including flouting procurement law, gross negligence in the discharge of his public duties, perjury, arson, corruption and money laundering.

“He’s cost the state millions of money, including entering into contracts that are more costly than is necessary and hence spending more on a loan secured at taxpayers’ expense.

“In addition, state institutions have been used to cover up and defend his criminal actions. A presidential commission and parliamentary inquiry both spent huge sums of public money on something that should have been investigated by institutions created specially for this purpose,” stated Chirwa.

Chaponda has refused to make any comment during the period of investigations.

He however took ACB investigators on a tour of his property in Area 10 in Lilongwe where he showed off some of his townhouses and flats in the high-end suburb.

The dismissed Minister of Agriculture told ACB that he wanted to show them how wealthy he is and justify why he is cash-rich after they confiscated at least K166 million stashed in suitcases at his house.

Chaponda also submitted his assets declaration form to ACB which indicates he hold many bank accounts in foreign countries where he worked for United Nations (UN).

A lists of assets Chaponda declared as OF February 1, 2017 seen by Nyasa Times shows that he has 20 real estate properties in Lilongwe, Blantyre, France, Luchenza, Mangochi, Thyolo and Chiradzulu.

According to Chaponda declaration, the source of funds for the property, valued at K853 million, included bank loans and his earnings from the UN, United Kingdom, South Africa, France and his children abroad and Chaponda investments.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu  said the millions of cash  found stashed in Chaponda’s residence in Lilongwe will form part of the evidence the ACB investigations are gathering.

Chaponda is being investigated by ACB following his suspicious dealings on the procurement of maize from Zambia.

Tembenu said President Peter Mutharika fired Chaponda from the cabinet to pave way for proper and efficient investigations.

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12 thoughts on “ACB says Chaponda not off the hook:  ‘Tremendous progress‘ in corruption investigations”

  1. mtete says:

    We really know how to waste money. The investigation is costing the taxpayer millions in allowances. Why, for heavens sake? Chaponda must really be very sacred.

  2. DW says:

    This is very Rubbish investigation indeed!!! Deputy director all you have said is rubbish. You know waht to do When you are found with forex without documents.

  3. Amaduh Cassim says:

    afana a bank nkhonde amenewo? muli booh big

  4. Mphwache says:

    And it is a well known secret that Chaponda has bolted and he and his family are not in the country.

  5. Evans Kagwira says:

    Rubbish investigations, for how long? The ACB speaks likes it is talking to children. Deputy director all you have said is rubbish.

    It is clear the ACB works under instruction from govt. What a useless and toothless body

    1. Rodents says:

      Nyapako, commenting on Shi you don’t know

  6. unifundisa says:

    the recommendation by the two commissions of enquiry namely Residential and Parliamentary was that Chaponda should be investigated on his conduct with Transglobe produce which had connotation of corruption. Nothing has been said todate what ACB has done in this repect.The ACB erred because even now their investigation trends into a money laundering one and not corruption. The forensic activity is to established how he acquired money and real estates yet the recommendation was specific to the Zambia maize saga. ACB should have already questioned Chaponda on the basis of the two enquiries. Now they are delaying to come up with a plausible charge timely in order to candidly combine together the aspect of corruption and moneylaundering.The ACB says they have made tremendous progress. what nonsense! why did they confisticate cash if not an offence? Lets hope your source will not once more recuse himself after all the progress he calls tremendous. By the way opinion you solicit from your legal expert in Danewood Chirwa are class theories and foreign not in tandem with what legal experts based here can competently give your country readers. The gentleman is always too emotional in his comments as if he is wiser or more intelligent than the practical legal minds we have locally. Let him respect our own revered legal minds here more especially at ACB so that they do there job right to earn a conviction of Chaponda without his interference from his RSA base

  7. obama says:

    Mbuzi za acb. After the two inquiry you can really come out to the public and say you are still investigating? How long dd it take for the two women that were caught at the airport to investigated and charged? How long dd the acb investigate sithole on the same counts? You think Malawians are blind? This is uncalled for and shame to the government that is preaching to deal with corruption. The acb is toothless and you better stop talking rather let your actions speak for your credibility.

  8. Hoosen says:

    Dot fool us. We know arldy dat chaponda wl walk out of dis issue cos he is above malawi’s laws. You are jst wasting money in de name of “stl investagating”. U got instructions frm big elephant dat u mus nt arrest chaponda . tell ur boss dat 2019 its nt vry far. He wl rgrt all wht he z doing nw. Malawians r suffrn cos of hs poor governc.

  9. Chilungamo Chimawawa says:

    The DPP government is really shielding this Chaponda guy. We want to see him arrested without delay. If Chaponda was a member of opposition party you could have seen how quick his arrest could be!!!!!

  10. nanyonie says:

    following with intetest till the very end. I hope this case won’t seize as some cases do

  11. mwekha says:

    Check Dr Moses ku Central medical stores ampereka ma order pama billions ku Malawi pharmacies, koma ali shareholder , conflict of interest

Comments are closed.