Former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has been given millions of Kwachas found by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) stashed inside suitcases hidden in the bedroom of his bedroom during a search.
Between US$58,000 and MK124 million in cash was found after a search at Chaponda’s home last year following investigations in the procurement of maize from Zambia.
Chaponda claimed the money belongs to the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The former minister applied to court that the money should be given back as it had not been proved to be proceeds of illicit activities or money laundering. The court ordered ACB, who hade deposited the moeney at Reserve Bank of Malawi, to surrender the money.
ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba confirmed on Tuesday that they have complied with the court order and Chaponda has been given back his millions of Kwachas.
He said Chaponda was not charged on some of the money – K29 million plus an assorted mix of small amounts of forex (Zambia Kwacha, Pula, India Rupee) – and there is a court order that he gets that.
Chaponda justified why he is cash-rich, saying he has worked for the United Nations (UN) for over 20 years and has his own investments.
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
Chaponda is answering three charges which include giving false information to ACB, influencing a public officer to misuse his position and possession of foreign currency. He has constantly denied any wrong doing.
He was arrested by ACB in July last year on suspicion of corruption relating to procurement of the K26 billion maize from Zambia.
Malawi’s government has struggled to regain credibility after the massive ‘Cashgate’ scandal in 2013 caused foreign donors to cut large amounts of aid. When he took office the following year, President Peter Mutharika pledged zero tolerance on corruption and mismanagement.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :