The graft busting body Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which is investigating Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Thapatula Chaponda following a recommendation by the commission of inquiry into Malawi’s maize imports from Zambia on Tuesday searched the house of the embattled minister in the capital Lilongwe.
ACB also searched the House of chief executive officer for State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc), Foster Mulumbe.
Chaponda and Mulumbe are being investigated by ACB in relations to the questionable procurement of maize from Zambia.
ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala confirmed the bureau obtained a court warrant of search to raid houses.
“People are out there conducting searches,” Ndala said on Capital Radio on Tuesday afternoon.
“Currently the operation is underway,” confirmed Ndala.
She could however not disclose the houses which were being searched.
But Nyasa Times learnt from ACB sources that house raided included that of Chaponda and Mulumbe.
The search of Chaponda’s home revealed stacks of cash both in foreign currency and Kwacha but the value could not be independently verified.
Sources says the searches turned out to be “quite productive”.
ACB has not commented on whether they have seized the cash.
“The final amount is unknown. But a bag loaded with cash has been found,” said a source.
Chaponda who was attending a sitting of parliament when ACB conducted the search, refused to comment on the nature of the money or its origins, only claiming that he is not guilty.
According to ACB deputy director Reyneck Matemba, the bureau launched an investigation into the maize procurement saga in January this year where they have been investigating the roles that a number of individuals and institutions played in the whole procurement saga.
“We are also currently conducting a joint investigation with the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia and three of our officers went to Zambia a month ago as part of the investigation. We wish to confirm that the bureau is also investigating the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. George Chaponda,” he said.
Chaponda and Mulumbe maintain they are innocent.
Meanwhile, government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, refused to say anything on the matter.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :