Malawi Police impound cash-gate buses: Kalonga re-arrested

Malawi Police have impounded four out of six buses suspected to have been bought using Capital Hill cash-gate exploits at the Ministry of Tourism.

Malawi Police Service deputy publicist Kelvin Maigwa confirmed on Monday that the  buses which were seen parked at the compound of Automotive Products Limited (APL), the franchise dealer for Scania, who sold the ministry six 65-seater Torino Marcopolo buses at about K520 million (about $1.3m), have been impounded.

The Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) said it did not handle the procurement in question.

According to documents seen, the cheque, prepared on September 4 2013, was deposited into Automotive Products’ bank account on September 6 2013.

“Police have impounded the buses,” said Maigwa.

The impounded buses

The impounded buses

He also disclosed that Police have rearrested the chief tourism officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Leonard Kalonga,  who was on bail for charges of allegedly defrauding government.

“We have rearrested Kalonga as investigations continue,” he said.

“We suspect Kalonga is the one who sourced quotations for the buses. The charges placed on him are money laundering and theft by public servant,” said Maigwa.

Kalonga was first arrested on October 17 by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly conniving with different people to defraud government.

Although the transaction went through the Ministry of Tourism vote, principal secretary in the ministry, Elsie Tembo, said she was not aware of the purchase or the need for the buses at her office.

The Ministry of Tourism is one among a few ministries that were apparently being used as conduits for the looted public funds.

ACB also arrested the ministry’s principal secretary Teresa Namathanga Senzani thought to have been at the centre of the looting.

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