Traditional Authority Chilooko of Malawi’s central district of Ntchisi risk being arrested after some village headmen implicated him in alleged acts of corruption.
About 10 village heads (VHs) in the district claim the traditional leader solicited cash from them amounting between K10 000 and K15 000 as an inducement for them to be included on the list of those benefiting from government’s monthly honoraria.
The tradition leader is alleged to have been using one of his right hand men Senior Group Village Headman Chikwakwa who has been collecting the money from the VHs for favours.
Among those who reportedly gave out the money for consideration are VH Somba real name Jester Mafuta and VH Chimbatata whose actual name is Fanuel Karison.
The disgruntled chiefs were forced to let the cat out of the bag after they were left out on the final list of chiefs issued by the Ntchisi District Commissioner’s office to benefit from the honoraria scheme.
The chiefs have vowed to take up the matter with police or higher authority if their money is not refunded.
“We feel duped and we want the court of law to assist us because the District Commissioner’s office is already showing biasness in the matter,” explained VH Somba.
While confirming receiving complaint from the concerned chiefs, the District Commissioner Yamikani Chitete said his office was following up the matter to establish the truth.
He, however, said the aggrieved chiefs needed to provide evidence about their accusations because in the absence of proof of acts of corruption their allegations are pointless.
Both TA Chilooko and SGVH Chikwakwa denied the bribe allegations and challenge the chiefs to go ahead with their actions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development says it is dismayed with the report warning government will in anyway not shield such traditional leaders therefore once proved to have engaged in such malpractice.
The development comes after President Joyce Banda directed recently that 20,000 chiefs would be put on monthly honoraria.
“The ministry wishes to state that identification process is following clearly laid down institutional guidelines where only those who have worked for a long time as group village heads and village heads will qualify to be included on the government payroll.
“It is extremely unfortunate that some chiefs could engage themselves in acts of corruption and abuse of office by taking advantage of the President’s directive. The ministry, therefore, warns that any traditional leader who would have been found to have engaged in such malpractice will not be shielded by government in anyway,” said the ministry in a press statement signed by its spokesperson, Maganizo Mazeze.
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