ACB pleads for patience on ‘Maizegate’ scam: Fails to justify Chaponda’s freedom  

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has pleaded for patience in the ongoing maize procurement corruption investigations while defending itself for failing to arrest fired Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda despite the seizure of cash in both local and foreign currencies at his house on Tuesday.

Operation seacrh and seizure: ACB investigaors and police at Tikwere House in Lilongwe
Egritta Ndala: Patience

The ACB during a search found and seized  K124 million, $57 500, 2 720 Indian rupee, 518 Ethiopian birr, 610 Pula, 1 200 meticais, 1 250 Kenya shillings, 80 Hong Kong dollars, 1 010 Japanese yen, 22 370 South African rands, 55 euros, 29 Zambian kwacha and 100 Namibian dollar within Chaponda’s house in Lilongwe.

It is a convictable offence to be found with such unexplained cash, and commentators have been calling for ACB to act swiftly and arrest Chaponda on money laundering charges amid investigations on corruption allegations.

However, the anti-graft body has stood its grounds while justifying its dilly-dallying to arrest the once deemed powerful minister and close ally of President Peter Mutharika.

In a statement made available to Nyasa Times on Wednesday and signed by ACB’s Senior Public Relations Officer, Egrita Ndala,the Bureau pleaded for patience.

“The Bureau would like to appeal to members of the public to hold their patience as the investigation is continuing. The investigations of such magnitude require enough time to ensure that the process is conducted thoroughly and is done in conformity to legal requirements,” reads the statement in part.

And in an interview with Nyasa Times later on, Ndala failed to justify why the Bureau was not arresting Chaponda despite having enough grounds and evidence of money laundering related charges.

“It’s a process and whatever happened yesterday (Tuesday) is part of that process. We can’t just make the arrest. We have to follow the law,” said Ndala.

Ndala said Chaponda’s arrest would depend on the outcome of the Bureau’s investigations, saying “We need to analyze every information and material obtained during the investigations, and then the decision will be made.”

Chaponda is liable for prosecution on related money laundering contrary to the Penal Code and the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Financing Act as well as corruption charges contrary to Section of the Corrupt Practices Act.

UK based Malawian social commentator and governance activist Ahmed Dassu said law enforcement agencies must arrest Chaponda following the cash that was found in his house.

“Now the law enforcement agencies must proceed to arrest Chaponda on money laundering evidenced by the cash found in his house. Other charges can follow after the investigations are completed, otherwise people in Malawi will be right to assume the dismissal of Chaponda is a cover up until things cool down and that President Mutharika and Chaponda are in the scam together,” Dassu told Nyasa Times.

Mutharika on Wednesday conceded and took heed of the public outcry and relieved Chaponda of his duties as minister pending the outcome of ACB’s investigations.

On Tuesday the anti-graft body seized cash that was found stashed in suitcases in the Chaponda’s official house in Lilongwe.

The ACB has been investigating the scandal since December, 2016 following a complaint alleging that procurement procedures were not followed in the procurement of maize from Zambia by Admarc.

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5 years ago

Guys this man is very clean until proven guilty in the court of Law.
The Sithole case does not apply here.
Plse our learned international lawyer defend yourself coz aMalawi awa mukuwadziwa ndiakaduka….
ndiansanje monga mmene amayimbila nyimbo ya fuko lathu.

5 years ago

This men used to go foreigh countries thas wy he was having different exchange bt where is the opposition group results because the resuits which is out now is for president

5 years ago

The ACB started investigating this issue in December,2016. The only information which the public have is about money in suitcases which was not the sole aim of the search. We haven’t heard yet of any sensitive document connecting the suspect to the maize scam. The money found in his house canot be linked to the scam because we hear that there is yet no exchange of money between customer and supplier where we could suspect that some kickbucks and commissions took place. Si zaphuma izi iyayi. Let ACB do its job perfectly not by being moved by those who did… Read more »

5 years ago

Why people they just think them selves why can’t u think about the people who are struggling and to just get the food while u r sleeping ontop of the money malawi the problems never finish

5 years ago

We are waiting a lot of Cash only on Chaponda. I rest him n we forget about it. Various bodies are using taxpayers money only on cases related to this man.

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