ACB opens investigations on Chilima over 44 UTM vehicles

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has disclosed that it has now opened full investigations on vice President Saulos Chilima over 44 vehicles that his UTM procured using one of his friends. The procurement raised eyebrows forcing one of the concerned citizens writing the ACB to investigate the matter.

All the 44 vehicles are registered in the name of Khwesi Msusa who is connected to the purchase of the vehicles and has been Chilima’s closest friend since their college days.

Soon after the purchase came into the limelight, private citizen, Gosten Chinseu lodged a complaint at ACB. The bureau’s spokesperson Egritta Ndala says the ACB has since found merit in the request and has launched a full investigation in the matter.

Chilima making his UTM promises: We will fight corruption

Ndala says after reviewing the complaint, the bureau finds merit for action on the same.

Governance expert, George Phiri, has welcomed the decision saying it will clear suspicions around the procurement of the said vehicles.

The investigation comes at a time the Vice President is entangled in a corruption scandal having been mentioned by the ACB and British National Crime Agency (NCA) as a direct beneficiary of Zuneth Sattar’s money.

Following these revelations, Chilima was stripped off of any delegated duties by President Lazarus Chakwera.

Apart from the two matters, Chilima is also embroided in another suspected fraud where he is said to have dubiously deposited K200 million at Old Mutual Malawi Limited in one of the firm’s interest-bearing asset investment funds.

This is believed to be a move to hide some of the proceedings from his dirty deals.

The investment raised eyebrows mainly owing to his connection to Sattar who is answering money laundering charges in the United Kingdom. Again, the move raised questions considering his financial status as a government official.

“His package as Vice President is less than three million Kwacha per month meaning he would need to save all his earnings for over five years to accumulate the amount he has invested at Old Mutual. There are so many missing links in his dealings up until he comes out clearly to explain what is going on,” observed one financial commentator who is also privy to the transaction at Old Mutual.

Chilima in 2020 deferred his salary as one way of showing commitment towards the fight against Covid-19. This only confirms suspicions that in the absence of his salary he has been accumulating wealth dubiously.

The learned financial expert questioned the rationale behind Chilima movement of funds at a time he is under the microscope of both local and international investigations agencies.

“It is only wise for one to keep their financial assets immobile when an investigation is taking place. This may force the ACB to freeze his assets once they start prosecuting him, if he really is part of their investigation. It does not look good on him as things stand,” he added.

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