Chaponda arrest looming as ACB concludes corruption investigations into ‘Maizegate’

Graft busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has concluded its investigations into  corruption element in Malawi’s maize imports from Zambia  involving George Thapatula Chaponda—the erstwhile Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Leader of the House — and an arrest is looming.

Chaponda: Facing corruption rap

Two state sponsored public inquiries recommended that Chaponda, who is alsp the vice president of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), should  be investigated.

Chaponda could be arrested after Parliament adjourns this week.

Reyneck Matemba, the deputy director of the ACB said the bureau concluded its investigations three weeks ago on  forensic investigation of suitcases stashed with cash – US$58,000 and MK124 million seized at Chaponda’s house during the raid in February this year.

ACB raided Chaponda’s residence following a recommendation by the commission of inquiry into Malawi’s maize imports from Zambia that he should be investigated.

Matemba said ACB is coming up with good charges for Chaponda.

“We need to come up with a very good case and good analysis …” he said .

“If we are to charge Dr Chaponda with existing currency exchange laws on the money we found in his house, then he could get away with very lenient sentence and the people would blame us for this. People should be patient. We cannot start to prosecute him in piece meal. We cannot start isolating cases,” he said.

Asked recently on Capital Radio’s Straight Talk program when ACB will summon Chaponda for questioning.

“At the bureau we do not just summon an accused person for questioning when we do not have basis. Being found with money in your house is not a criminal offence on its own,” said Matemba who is also ACB prosecutor.

Matemba said they wanted to finalise the investigations and invite Chaponda for “questioning.”

He said the bureau has been workly closely with  Reserve Bank of Malawi on the cash which was seized from Chaponda’s residence.

“We will be inviting  him to be questioniong. We are not shielding Chaponda,” he said, adding “one aspect of investigation can lead t0 another.”

But law experts say Chaponda  has been afforded enough time and space to build his story, saying investigations could have gone ahead having interviewed him under caution which is not a presumption of guilt.

Chaponda justified why he is cash-rich after they confiscated at least K166 million stashed in suitcases at his house, saying he  has worked for the United Nations (UN) for over 20 years and has his own investment..

He  also submitted his assets declaration form to ACB which indicates he hold many bank accounts in foreign countries where he worked for UN.

A lists of assets Chaponda declared as of  February 1, 2017 seen by Nyasa Times shows that he has 20 real estate properties in Lilongwe, Blantyre, France, Luchenza, Mangochi, Thyolo and Chiradzulu.

According to Chaponda declaration, the source of funds for the property, valued at K853 million, included bank loans and his earnings from the UN, United Kingdom, South Africa, France and his children abroad and Chaponda investments.

In a political rally  in his Mulanje South West constituency at Chonde in Mulanje recently,  Chaponda  said he was ready and prepared to be arrested.

“I have been waiting to be arrested because people have been saying so,” said Chaponda, a lawyer by profession.

He denies any wrong-doing.

“The law says you are innoncent until proved guilty, so I am not afraid, let them prove me guilty,” said Chaponda.

Legal commentator based at South Africa’s University of Cape Town, Professor Danwood Chirwa  argued that Chaponda has “committed or is alleged to have committed a litany of legal infringements including flouting procurement law, gross negligence in the discharge of his public duties, perjury, arson, corruption and money laundering.”

University of Malawi political scientist Boniface Dulani is in record saying that the decision to fire Chaponda from Cabinet  was forced on  President Peter Mutharika who would have maintained the minister if he had his way.

Dulani said the maizegate—just like Cashgate on Joyce Banda—will forever be associated with the Mutharika’s regime.

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Siyani
Guest

God knows the truth of the matter. He knows how to deal with you Chaponda.

phelani ntshangase
Guest

mbava ya bwampini mutharika ndi diphiphi as a party tsopano. kuwopsyaaaa kunyansaaaaaa eeeeeeeeeeeh!!!!!!!!!!

Aphiri
Guest

Chaponda was paid millions by transglobe to facilitate the deal? Deal umalandiliratu ntchito isanayambe kaya… The money which was found at his house has serial numbers in order which shows the money came from one source not wat he is saying that I ve bn working bola bla and am rich …that doesn’t make sense

kinky wa rex
Guest

acb is lame it can’t prosecute someone from the ruling party it can’t prosecute!!!!! it will tell us that its a social perception that’s MMalawi i know if u r in gofament know pretty sure u r immune

Hon Pwhisi
Guest

Olamula are invited, can turn down I u wish,
Otsutsa are arrested shame
ACB toothless bull dog

Kalyoto
Guest

Writing things that have not been said by the ACB, what all this thrash bent at? Those who have gone through today’s daily times paper will agree with me that Mr Matemba refused to give more on their findings. Mumva m’bebe chifukwa ndikutha kuwona line ya anthu ndi makampani a kusumilidwa.

BOLOLO
Guest

In our current administration Chaponda has no case to answer. This verdict is has already made by ACB. This case will never go to court. Some animals are more equal than others. Social injustices are real and on the rise.

Tenzi Mzungu
Guest

Educate me pliz how much cash did Chaponda get from the maize deal? Is true that no cash exchanged hands? Is true that the arrangement was that the money was loan and was supposed to go straight to the supplier?

charles midima
Guest

I wished we had investigators so credible as FBI guys who did not bend to the calls to drop the Russia-USA election meddling. ACB, cant you do that please? Do the needful and deliver justice to Malawian which has been long over. please!

Maunits
Guest

You will invite Chaponda for questioning, What language is that one legal terms. There is a case already and one gets arrested straight. This is what you did with Sithole no sacred cow we know for sure dpp will try hard to shield the thief as dpp are thieves all of them but we will conclude this believe me or not.

wpDiscuz

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