Activists call for Chaponda’s arrest: Dausi says fired Malawi minister is innocent

UK based Malawian social commentator and governance activist Ahmed Dassu has  called on authorities to arrest fired Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda over the K26 billion Zambia maize-gate scam and the seizure of cash at in both local and foreign currencies at his house amounting to an accumulated figure of over K200 million.

Dassu (left) says Chaponda should be arrested and face charges

Following the seizure and refusal by Members of  Parliament , especially from the opposition benches, to recognise Chaponda as Minister of Agriculture, on Wednesday President Mutharika  relieved him of his responsibilities as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development  which have now been taken over by the Head of State.

Government spokesman Nicholous Dausi said Mutharika removed Chaponda from cabinet “with immediate after he was found with millions of money at his residence yesterday”

But  reacting to the development, Dassu, who is  one of the people who championed multiparty democracy when he led pro-democracy hero late Chakufwa Chihana to come back home and challenge dictator Kamuzu Banda, said arresting Chaponda is not enough, an arrest with prosecution should follow.

“Now the law enforcement agencies must proceed to arrest Chaponda on money laundering evidenced bu 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 coll down and that President Mutharika and Chaponda are in the scam together,” Dassu told Nyasa Times.

And the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR)  while commedning President Mutharika for firing the minister of agriculture   “in sync with the recommendations of both Commission of Inquiry as well as the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Chaponda’s alleged corrupt conduct in the purchasing of Zambia maize saga” called for authorities to expedite investigations into the matter and take the necessary and legal course of actions that will yield justice on the matter.

“For record’s sake, CHRR is not saying Chaponda is guilty. However, if the recommendations from Inquiry and Parliamentary Committee are anything to go by, Chaponda’s compromised credibility was beneath the integrity that comes with the office of the Cabinet Minister,” said CHRR’s executive director Timohty Mtambo in a statement.

Another social commentator Mzondi Lungu wrote on Facebook: “Sacking Chaponda is not enough: The president must apologise to all Malawians for paying a blind eye to the obvious facts and for defending him until the pressure was unbearable. He has a lot to explain.”

But Minister of Information Dausi said  Chaponda is presumed innocent until proven guilty by competent court of law.

“Dr Chaponda is not quilty because according to the laws no body is found guilty until a competent court of law has found other wise,” said Dausi

“Malawi is now abbsy of jungle politics. We have to be in the confines of the law,” added Dausi.

However, a private practice lawyer Chimwemwe Kalua arged that Chaponda is  “presumed  innocent and not that he is innocent or guilty.”

University of Malawi political scientist at ChancellorCollege  Boniface Dulani said Malawians must not just be content that the ACB raided Chaponda’s residence rather  the citizens should be “following up and ensuring the investigations are concluded and action is taken if any evidence that the concerned individuals did something wrong.”.

Dulani in quotes reported by The Nation newspaper  on Wednesday said; “But the law says no one is above the law so Chaponda, like any other Malawian, is not immune from being investigated and questioned and we don’t expect Mutharika to order the ACB to arrest him but what the President has under his control is sack his Cabinet minister.”.

The daily also quoted Edge Kanyongolo, a law lecturer at Chancellor College, saying  much as he did not have specific details about the case, under the Corrupt Practices Act, the bureau has wide powers of investigations that include conducting searches and interrogating suspects.

Human rights lawyer Chrispin Sibande said ACB should question Chaponda on the seized millions in cash “ because the law provides that and they should be given the right to be heard.”

Chaponda told Nyasa Times that he has “clear concisous” and denies any wrong doing.

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Che Wiziki
Guest

Nyasatimes please investigate that money and i can bet that most of it must have come from Mota-Engil…….a week does not pass without Henry Mussa, the Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Mr Mutharika (a relation to the President) and many others without coming to Mota offices or the MDs house. Many competent Malawians are being victimized but they choose to suffer in silence…….we know they are using a former journalst to bribe some of the media guys as he also comes to collect cash for the same…this is my tip & use your skills to expose this shit

Aford Follower
Guest
Dausi defies logic by saying ‘innocent until proven guilty’. If indeed Chaponda is innocent then why has Mutharika removed him from his cabinet? Chaponda has to be arrested and charged for money laundering. Then it is for Chaponda to explain the source of the money found in his house. Was he dealing in drugs, or plotting to overthrow Mutharika, or are the funds bribes paid to him by Transglobe? Let Chaponda tell law enforcement agencies. A serving Minister does not need the amount of money found in his house. With all the other instances of looting of public funds Malawians… Read more »
Yahya Jammeh
Guest

When the President and Chaponda insisted that payment for purchases of maize was not made, these people were right because they kept all the money meant in Chaponda’s house. This is shameful! Now that Chaponda is fired, Dausi should desisit from making defensive remarks for Chaponda because he speaks on government business. There is no need for him to continue speaking for the suspected thief who is now a plebeian, otherwise Malawians will conclude that the whole DPP machinery was involved in Chaponda’s dirty tricks. I will rule Gambia for a billion years.

makambale
Guest
Let Chaponda clear himself at the court and not through the Media. Dausi should now resist speaking for Chaponda because he is no longer a cabinet minister. Dausi’s continued comments to speak for Chaponda is abuse of his office and likely to be interpreted as a coy to defend Chaponda who was stealing for the benefit of many DPP gurus including the president. Meanwhile, the general expectation is that Chaponda should be arrested and taken court where the law will find him either guilty or not. In the interim, as citizens we will continue to hold on the general view… Read more »
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Makambale
You are absolutely right. Chaponda should arrested and also be investigated for the burning down of the Ministry building. Anti Corrution Bureau should request donors to provide Forensic experts to investigate. Malawi has no expertise to investigate cause of fires

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