Mangochi District Council Ward Councillors have been suspected of stealing millions of money since they assumed their role in 2014.
This has been revealed after Mangochi police arrested Shadreck Chibondo Banda, a Councillor for Mbvumba Ward in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Nankumba in the district for being suspicious with the theft of K2.8 million Local Development Fund (LDF) which the councillor said he was robbed of by thieves at one of the lodges in the district as first reported by Nyasa Times.
The councillor, according to Mangochi Police Officer-in-Charge, Elijah Kachikuwo, on February 10, 2016 went to the district council to take the development money where upon cashing it he decided to put up at MT Lodge.
Kachikuwo said the ward councillor is alleged that after booking the lodge he was visited by his fellow councillors who together with them went out leaving his room locked but when he returned he only discovered that the room was open and the money was stolen.
After being robbed of, he decided to report to police but instead of being assisted, the police started quizzing him with questions, and he failed to give concrete answers and this combed the police’s hair, hence, his arrest.
“The councillor has been incarcerated because we tend to wonder why he took all that money and booked a room. This is a tip in an iceberg. Again the other thing which boggles our mind is why the Mangochi district council disbursed development money and gave it to the single person like that? These are several questions that still beg answers,” explained Kachikuwo.
“But let me express happiness that what has happened with this councillor has made us realize that monies are being swindled in councils in the name of councillors under LDF. And has given us clues
to embark on massive investigation in all the Wards in the district,” he asserted.
Kachikuwo said as of 15 February 2016 through the investigation, another councillor for Nkope Ward, Alexander Billy has been arrested for being linked to the scam.
“Today, we are anticipating to make more arrests. Anybody involved will be arrested whether council officials or other councillors because it is alleged that more councilors use dubious ways of
getting money” at the council at the expense of payments of workers who do development work in their areas,” stressed Kachikuwo.
Mangochi police acting office in charge Osman Gondwe confirmed the arrest of Alexander Billy of Nkope ward and Nelson Saladi of Nkoche ward.
The arrest of the two councillors brings to six the number of councillors arrested since the 2014 local government elections. Two councilors from Phalombe and Zomba respectively were arrested for allegedly stealing cement meant for development programmes, a councillor in Mulanje was arrested for allegedly impregnating a girl and the three in Mangochi in connection with the council money.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Mulhabase Mughogho said the government will let the law take its course and a decision on the councillors would be taken after a court ruling.
Malawi Local Government Association chairman Samson Chaziya said the allegations against the councillors are damaging and do not give good image to the councillors who are supposed to be development spearheads at grassroot level.—Additional reporting by Owen Khamula, Nyasa TimesFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :